We’ve Been Warning You
We at Red Maryland have been warning you for our entire existence about the dangerous path the State Government was on, particularly when it came to mandated spending.
So maybe we, as conservatives, aren’t the kind of person you need to listen to take heed of that warning. Maybe you’ve been thinking “those guys, those conservatives, are just wrong and they just want to cut the size of government.”
Maryland’s top legislative analyst warned state lawmakers Tuesday to “get real” about what’s driving chronic budget gaps and suggested they consider trimming spending.
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Warren G. Deschenaux, executive director of the Department of Legislative Services, told about three dozen state lawmakers that they are responsible — not a recession — for hundreds of millions of budget shortfalls in recent years.
“This time, I think, is different,” Deschenaux said at a briefing in Annapolis. “This time, it’s all on us.”
State forecasters overestimated how much money the state would take in by about $785 million over the course of this year and next. Even under optimistic scenarios, Deschenaux said the state laws call for spending to outpace revenue by 1.2 percent, a gap that will force policy makers to cut $250 million every single year.
“We need to get real, and getting real means not counting on and budgeting up to every possible dime,” Deschenaux said.
He pointed out that while lawmakers routinely close such gaps, they normally do with temporary cuts one year at a time, falsely assuming a future economic boon will stave off the need for permanent budget cuts.
Over the course of the last two years, there has been real leadership on the budget coming from Governor Larry Hogan. But that has not stopped Democratic leaders in the General Assembly from trying to mandate every single solitary piece of state spending to restrict the power of the Governor to budget as he sees fit in the manner laid out in our State Constitution.
Democrats will undoubtedly try to place the blame for this budget gaps at the feet of Governor Hogan. Don’t believe them. It’s nonsense. The cause of the budget gap rests solely on the shoulders of eight-years of Martin O’Malley’s budgets and the consistent nonchalance of Democratic legislators whose attitude has been to spend first and ask questions later. We have a budget gap thanks to decades of Democrats trying to make sure that every left-wing special interest group got a chance to feed at the trough of government so they could fill their coffers and ensure a pro-incumbent turnout at the next election.
Now, the chickens are coming home to roost and decades of Democratic budget mismanagement have created budget gaps that are going to need adult leadership to fix.
Fortunately for taxpayers, the people elected Governor Hogan in 2014. We know that Governor Hogan is not shy about keeping spending in check and managing government in an efficient manager. When he was elected, the people of this state knew the budgetary situation in our state. They knew the reckless nature of the spending priorities laid out by Martin O’Malley and his Democratic allies. And they knew that Maryland was on an unsustainable spending path. The people knew this, and their reaction to it was to elect somebody who was not of Annapolis and was willing to get the job done for the taxpayers of Maryland.
The Democrats have created a hell of a mess. But it’s a problem that Governor Hogan is more than prepared to fix.