“For all the hand wringing and wailing that we’re seeing in the media, the bottom line is spending in this budget increases by nearly $700 million over last year” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell. “It was not a budget that we would have crafted, but it is does not demand a Special Session.”
According to the Department of Legislative Services, even with the cuts included in the “Doomsday Budget”, total state spending still increases by nearly $700 million over last year. Total state spending in FY 2012 was $34.7 billion, in FY 2013 total spending increased to $35.4 billion.
“When you look at the numbers it seems that ‘doomsday’ is certainly in the eye of the beholder,” said Delegate Kelly Schulz. “While cuts to education have been making headlines, the reality is they’re basically level-funded in FY 2013, and still receiving more than FY 2012. While interest groups like MSEA are making hysterical cries for a Special Session to increase taxes, we think after years of record education funding, the taxpayers deserve a break.”
“Our caucus offered a well thought-out plan that reduced the budget and avoided tax increases but it was solidly rejected on party lines”, said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “Now we have the Democratic majority’s budget that was haphazardly crafted as a coercion tool for tax hikes – it was a bluff to force their more reluctant members to vote for tax increases. This scheme backfired and now they want a do-over.”
In fact, a special session could be quite a costly “do-over” for taxpayers. When the legislature convened for a tax-raising special session in 2007, it cost taxpayers over $20,000 per day and lasted several weeks.
“With today being the Tax Day deadline, it is important to keep in mind that nearly $3 billion in new and increased taxes proposed in the 2012 Session, said Delegate Mark Fisher. “While polling showed that 96% of Marylanders felt they paid enough taxes, Governor O’Malley and the Democratic majority were still positioning themselves to take more. The fact that Maryland’s taxpayers made it through the session with very few of those taxes passing borderlines on miraculous.”
“Even in the final days of the 2012 Session Governor O’Malley was still pushing for a gas tax increase and even floated the idea of another sales tax increase, said Delegate Haddaway-Riccio. “This ‘Doomsday Budget’ is a contrived crisis to give them another bite at the tax apple. We do not need a special session that allows the tax-hungry General Assembly to make another grab for Marylander’s wallets.”