A Victory Over Waste
One of the things we have been criticizing for years has been the General Assembly’s insistence on using bond bills. It hasn’t been just a Democratic problem either; bond bills have been a bipartisan stain on Annapolis and our state budget for a long, long time.
And that is why this nugget of information about Governor Larry Hogan’s budget as reported by Len Lazarick is such a wonderful thing:
There is no money allocated in the capital budget for projects sponsored by legislators. In past years, $15 million had been allotted, with lawmakers introducing scores of competing local bond bills to snag a slice of $1 billion in bond funding.
Local bond bills of course came up as an issue early on in session, with the Democrats in the House and Senate (joined by at least one Republican) overriding the Governor’s veto on a $2 million project to renovate the Maryland Hall for the Arts in Annapolis.
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The juxtaposition between Governor Hogan and the Democrats could not be more real in this regard. The Democrats decided to override the Governor’s veto on a project that is not vital to state interests, nor vital to the economic well being to the city of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, or the State. It was a $2 million pork-barrel project that existed primarily because Maryland Hall sits in Speaker Mike Busch’s legislative district. While the Democrats are working to be more like Delegate Dereck Davis in trying to hurry up and spend the taxpayers money, the Governor is being responsible with both the budget and the people’s trust.
Due to the nature of Maryland’s budget process, the General Assembly can only cut, not add to the Governor’s budget. Therefore, the $15 million that has been allocated in the past isn’t coming back.
Given the nature of bond bills and the fact that Maryland has a history of allocating millions in pork to these projects, Governor Hogan has thrown down the gauntlet to legislators. The era of wasteful spending on local pork-barrel projects, a favorite tactic of legislators in both parties, is over. It’s long overdue and another way that Governor Hogan is fulfilling his promise to Maryland voters by continuing to Change Maryland for the better.