The Baltimore Sun Needs to Read the Room

We’ve written extensively about the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board and the ivory tower in which they live. And at no point was that better encapsulated than by their recent op-ed bemoaning Governor Larry Hogan’s important and necessary vetoes.

I won’t regurgitate the entire manure pile they produced. But let’s take a few highlights:

There can be little doubt that in three short months, the coronavirus outbreak has fundamentally altered the public policy landscape of Maryland, as it has much of the nation and the world. But Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto Thursday afternoon of dozens of bills — ranging from a generational overhaul of K-12 public education to a much more modest $3-million-per-year effort to prevent crime in Baltimore, starting in 2022 — can’t be justified by the pandemic alone.

This is your reminder that taxable revenues in Maryland are expected to be down 15% just in FY 2020. That says nothing of whatever might happen in FY 2021.

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Trim state spending? That’s sensible. Abandon important components to Maryland’s post-pandemic revival? That is ill-advised. 

Here’s a new strawman for Democrats to employ. That the Kirwan Commission is part of “Maryland’s post-pandemic revival.” Never mind the fact that the Kirwan recommendations have nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic and has been in the pipeline for years. To say nothing of the fact that there is no scenario where a “post-pandemic revival” can ever happen in an environment where Democrats and their PR department over on the Sun’s Editorial Board are pushing for 10% increase in the state budget and for higher taxes on Maryland’s remaining working people.

Meanwhile, while Kirwan’s $4 billion price tag is high, that number is actually highly misleading given it represents both state and local dollars 10 years out.

I’d love to see Tricia Bishop tell that personally to the 500,000 Marylanders who have already lost their jobs and will be the subject of the taxation that she so desperately wants to pay for all of this spending. It’s a tremendous, albeit failed, attempt at subterfuge to suggest that the $4 billion price tag is “misleading” when taxpayers are on the hook for the bill regardless.

His veto of $5.5 million in aid to the struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra spread across five years and of mandatory background checks for rifle and shotgun purchases rounds out his apocalyptic view of Charm City living.

This is a new adventure in hyperbole even by the lofty, hyperbolic standards of the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board. Maryland should not give a symphony a single penny in the best of times, to say nothing of giving millions to the mismanaged mess that is the BSO that was struggling long before the economic downturn. And as usual, the Editorial Board continues to beat the drum about long gun crimes that are practically non-existent in the state, while saying nothing about Baltimore’s failure to prosecute those committing gun crimes already on the books.

It’s clear that state government is facing a financial crisis the likes of which have seldom been witnessed before. If Washington fails to come forward which much-needed help for state and local governments, it could prove absolutely horrific. 

It’s hard to argue that you recognize that “state government is facing a financial crisis the likes of which have seldom been witnessed before” while simultaneously demanding a 10% increase in state spending. It’s even more ridiculous to think that instead of spending responsibly, the Governor should wait on Washington to bail out state governments. Bailing out state governments is not the fault of Congress nor is it their responsibility to clean up. States need to take responsibility for their own actions and their own spending. Some, but not all, of the responsibility for our fiscal crisis is related to the pandemic. A lot of the responsibility for our current fiscal calamity has to do with Democratic overreach in the General Assembly by mandating nearly 83% of state spending and giving the Governor limited flexibility to balance the state budget in a time of crisis. A ballot from Washington will only reinforce that bad behavior, though since Tricia Bishop and Co. actually support that bad behavior that is of little concern to them.

Committing to a decade of improvements in education isn’t just a sensible course of action in a recession, it’s a necessity to keep Maryland economically competitive in the post-pandemic recovery.

15% reduction in state revenues. 10% increase in state spending. It’s clear that the Board doesn’t understand the meaning of “economically competitive”. Or math in general, for that matter. To say nothing about the real and meaningful question about the effectiveness of the Kirwan Commission recommendations, which Democrats and supporters of the legislation seem to want to sweep under the rug.

Want to cut spending? The governor ought to consult with legislative leaders and make prudent trims, as needed, through the Board of Public Works over time.

Again, the Bishop and her team seem to be paying no attention to the reality on the ground. If they were, they would know that the Governor has been banging the drum about getting spending under control for five years and that legislative Democrats have no interest in being responsible with taxpayer money. If Democrats don’t want to be team players, the Governor will just have to do what is necessary to keep spending in check. It’s his responsibility, something neither Democrats or ivory tower editorial writers seem to grok.

Based on the way they wrote this ridiculous and asinine op-ed, you would think that the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board doesn’t even realize that there is a pandemic going on that, thanks to a variety of factors, is crushing the local economy. But in reality, they probably don’t realize it. Baltimore Sun Editorial Board employees are deemed as essential. They have jobs. They’re getting paid. And their already small social circle of ivory tower elitists are likely continuing on their merry lives as if little has changed. They aren’t struggling economically. They aren’t trying to make ends meet. And it’s very easy to write long, hyperbolic screeds demanding the little people pay more in taxes when you yourself are living high on the hog.

The disconnect between the Baltimore Sun Editorial Page and what’s left of it’s leadership continues to widen.


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