Spend First, Ask Questions Later

Once again, Democrats are trying to pile on to Governor Larry Hogan for withholding budgeted money, this time for the Washington Metro.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday the state would withhold about $55 million from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, alleging the leaders of the system have refused “to cooperate with our attempt to conduct proper financial audits.”

In a letter Monday to WMATA’s board of directors and CEO Paul Wiedefeld, state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn called the withholding of money for capital projects an “unfortunate, but necessary step the state of Maryland believes it must take in response to an ongoing pattern of fiscal obfuscation and a lack of cooperation from WMATA.”

Rahn wrote that state transportation officials have repeatedly tried to audit the Washington system, but been rebuffed. He wrote the state provides hundreds of millions annually to the system without getting to see its books.

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We’ve covered issues with Metro since the inception of Red Maryland, including my 2016 piece Metro Must Change or Die. Metro is and has been a dumpster fire for years, and Governor Hogan’s position on how poorly it has been mismanaged should not be a surprise to anybody. When you consider further that D.C. City Councilman Jack Evans, the Chairman of WMATA, recently had his house raided by the FBI and has admitted to conflicts of interest that netted him a tidy profit, it would be irresponsible of the Governor to not withhold the funding.

Democrats, of course, are losing their minds over this, as Maryland Matters reports, and has been evidenced on social media:

Kagan’s tweet, as her tweets often do, shows the Democrats stunning lack of self-awareness on this and other issues regarding withholding funds.

Kagan and other Democrats believe that it is the duty of Maryland to fund WMATA with absolutely no questions asked. $55 million in state money going out the door with no audits, no oversight, and no accountability.

While the dollar amount is much lower, the same can be said for the money being withheld from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. While in that instance the money is being sent to a private non-profit institution, the BSO is still a poorly run organization with no accountability.

Throwing money at things with a stunning lack of interest in accountability? Why that also sounds just like the Kirwan Commission recommendations and Democratic insistence on billions in increased spending and new taxes to fund education programs with no new accountability measures put in place or even a serious assessment as to whether what programs are already in place is working.

Democrats are very, very good at wanting to spend your hard-earned tax dollars. They are very good demanding that money gets spent. But they’re not very good at demanding accountability, nor are they very good at understanding why the Governor may not want to spend this money or organizations that clearly are a wreck when it comes to management and internal controls. When it comes to Metro spending, $55 million is real money. And withholding that money sends a message to WMATA that they need to get their act together and start trying to run their organization with some level of credibility and some level of accountability. When you consider how poorly managed the organization is, it’s amazing that there are not more instances where there are serious incidents which lead to injury or fatality.

But the Democrats don’t actually care about any of that. All they care about is spending the money in order to make their political stakeholders happy.

When it comes to spending that the Governor has the option to spend or not spend, I much prefer him following the example of what he has done with Metro or what he has done with the BSO then the example of what a Democrat would do, which is to basically set the money on fire by giving it to mismanaged organizations.

Remember this come 2022…



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