The Maryland House Republican Caucus today responded to Governor Martin O’Malley’s Fiscal Year 2011 spending plan by characterizing it as a template for Governor O’Malley’s mismanagement of the state of Maryland. The spending plan includes increases in state spending, the cleaning out of the state’s paltry special fund balances, place markers for more federal bailout money and leaves a $1.5 billion deficit for next year, which grows to more than $2 billion the year after. It also increases the governor’s staff budget, provides more environmental giveaways and continues the ongoing bloat at the University System of Maryland. The House Minority Caucus released the following statement:
“This spending plan by Governor Martin O’Malley shows his abject refusal to get Maryland on a fiscally responsible path,” House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell said. “It leaves us with a $400 million hole this year, $1.5 billion next year and at least another $2 billion hole the year after that. He says he’s reducing spending but that’s not the reality. The fact is that he is spending more Maryland tax dollars this year while hoping for another bailout from Congress and the White House. Maryland has no more road for Martin to kick the fiscal can down. We are broke because of this governor and his allies in the General Assembly.”
Minority Whip Chris Shank added, “Our special funds are bankrupted. Our transportation funds are long gone. The remaining businesses Maryland has are set to go broke because of the policies of this administration and the majority in the General Assembly. Honest talk from this governor would require him to tell Maryland’s taxpayers that he’s going to raise their taxes again next year. That’s not likely to happen.”
O’Donnell concluded, “Enough is enough! It is time that this governor and the majority in the General Assembly start listening to the citizens of Maryland and get our fiscal house in order. Stop the election year buyoffs and start managing the people’s money for a better future today.”
The people of Massachusetts have spoken and the Democrats are uncomfortable with the message that was sent by the people. The people are tired of the arrogant one-party rule that takes their constituents for granted. There should be no feeling of entitlement for holding public office.
Elected representatives are supposed to represent the people. It sounds simple, but many elected officials in Washington and Annapolis seem to forget that. Many of them seem to embrace an elitist view where they believe that they know what is good for everyone and that sometimes the people are not smart enough to know what is actually good for them.
The Democrats in Annapolis have a reason to be concerned about Scott Brown’s epic upset victory. Massachusetts is a stronger Democratic state than Maryland. In the Massachusetts General Court (which is their state legislature), Republicans comprise 10% of the House of Representatives (16 out of 160 seats) and 12.5% of the Senate (5 out of 40 seats). Contrast that to the Maryland General Assembly were Republicans comprise 26% of the House of Delegates (37 out of 141 seats) and 30% of the Senate (14 out of 47 seats). Additionally, Democrats have a 3-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans in Massachusetts. The ratio is slimmer in Maryland, where Democrats only have a 2-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans. Scott Brown’s victory has shown that even Democrats in strong Democratic states are not safe.
Maryland Republican Party Chairman Audrey Scott praised the Brown campaign: “Scott [Brown] ran a brilliant campaign that focused on the issues and resonated with voters. This goes to show the American people do want change but they do not like the government-run solutions coming from Washington.”
Brown’s campaign showed that people want health care reform, but they do not want the monstrosity that is in Congress being forced upon them against their will. Brown’s campaign also highlighted the people’s desire to reduce deficits. Maryland faces a budget deficit of $2 billion. Governor O’Malley is counting on receiving federal funding from a federal program that has not yet been created to help close the budget deficit. House Minority Whip Chris Shank likens this to building a “fiscal house of cards.” No fiscally responsible family would create a budget the same way the government of Maryland creates its budget.
Transparency is also a major issue. President Obama promised a transparent debate on health care. President Obama promised on multiple occasions during his campaign that C-SPAN would televise the health care negotiations; his failure to fulfill this campaign promise has led C-SPAN to recently demand more transparency and openness with the health care negotiations. Somehow the word “transparent” does not come to mind when one looks at the many closed-door Democrat-only health care bill sessions that Congress has held. The Democrats in Annapolis have also been unenthusiastic about providing transparency in government.
House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell and House Minority Whip Chris Shank have proposed on behalf of the House Republican Caucus three rule changes to improve transparency: 1) to post all committee votes online in an expeditious manner, 2) to publicly stream the video of committee meetings, and 3) to make all committee meetings open to the public, including all committee voting sessions. The Minority Parliamentarian, Delegate Michael Smigiel, has proposed two other rule changes: 1) that all committee votes shall be a yea or nay vote on approving the bill (this would eliminate the confusion caused by voting to disapprove a bill, where a yea vote would be a vote to kill the bill), and 2) that every committee shall vote on every bill and resolution referred to it. Delegates O’Donnell and Shank have also supported making up-to-the-minute session updates available to the public without having to pay a fee.
As Maryland faces a high unemployment rate during this economic crisis, the Democrats have not put forth any substantive plan to address unemployment. Republicans know that businesses thrive and jobs are created when government lowers taxes and does not heavy-handedly over-regulate businesses.
The people of Massachusetts have spoken and the Democrats in Maryland have every right to be worried when Marylanders get their chance in November. People demand responsibility, accountability, honesty, and transparency in government.