Today, Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee presented an alternative budget plan calling for zero growth in the upcoming fiscal year, which equates to a 2% across the board cut to Governor O’Malley’s budget proposal. Republican committee members urged Governor O’Malley to tread cautiously given the current financial insecurity brought on by the federal sequester and still recovering local economy.
“Earlier this year, Maryland taxpayers saw their paycheck reduced by 2% as a result of decisions by the federal government,” said Delegate Tony McConkey. “It is not unreasonable for Maryland’s government to take the same reductions as its taxpayers. In light of the pending impacts of sequestration, we must be cautious with our budgeting. Now is not the time to increase spending.”
Delegate Susan Aumann also called attention to the disparity between personal income growth and the rate of state government spending increases, “Maryland’s budget has increased over one billion dollars each year since 2008. State spending has outpaced personal income growth and Maryland’s government continues to grow while its taxpayers are losing ground.”
“We have to look at what we’re doing and change the patterns of the past,” said Delegate Addie Eckardt. “For the last several years the Governor has initiated new overlapping programs at the expense of existing programs. He has also used temporary federal money to fund long-term programs. All of this establishes an unsustainable pattern of increased spending that needs to stop.”
Republicans also expressed concerns about the growing state debt.
“Over the course of his term, the Governor has maxed out the State credit card,” remarked Delegate Gail Bates. “The state’s mortgage (debt service) is increasing year by year and is paid by the state’s property tax. In order to keep up with payments, property taxes will need to rise. Our children and grandchildren will be footing the bill for today’s spending.”
“Although the Governor’s budget may not appear to be as bad this year as it has been in years past, spending still increases $1.4 billion more than last year,” said Delegate Nancy Stocksdale. “Over the last several years the pattern has been the same: Governor O’Malley raises taxes, then he increases spending, then he raises taxes again. Increasing spending again just means higher taxes down the road. Enough is enough.”
Republicans also commented on the added burden the Governor’s transportation plan would put on taxpayers.
“We agree that improving our transportation infrastructure needs to be a priority,” said Delegate Wendell Beitzel. “However, the Governor’s plan does not distribute the funding burden equally between motorists and mass-transit users. The Governor’s gas tax plan is also overly burdensome on the working poor, rural areas of the state, and Maryland’s small businesses.”
According to a recent Gonzales poll, 96% of Marylanders feel that they pay enough in taxes and 64% are against annual $1 billion spending increases.
“We are listening to the citizens of Maryland and responding with a plan that will protect against more taxes and fees. Our plan is a fiscally responsible alternative to another bloated spending plan presented by the Governor,” commented Delegate Kathy Szeliga. “The citizens of Maryland are clearly tired of the same old strategy of raising taxes to increase spending. The leadership in Annapolis is out of touch with the pressures on family budgets today or they would not answer every challenge with more taxes.”
Click here for official copy of the press release.