State Lawmakers = College Students
Maryland lawmakers blissfully signed off on the 2008 fiscal year budget in April, which included new funding for school construction and stem cell research, without major ...
Maryland lawmakers blissfully signed off on the 2008 fiscal year budget in April, which included new funding for school construction and stem cell research, without major cuts or new taxes. Now, the 2009 budget looks scary.
As the Baltimore Sun reported, legislators say that, barring new revenue, the '09 budget will "cut grants for police officers, force tuition increases at state universities, freeze state workers' salaries, eliminate hundreds of state jobs and close some state institutions..." Oh, and it would require $500 million in reduced funding for public education.
Shocking? Certainly not. Lawmakers knew they were creating this problem when they tapped $1 billion in reserve funds in April -- the political equivalent of getting an extension on a term paper.
But why not just deal with the problem as soon as you know about it? The answer: Connecticut.
You might remember the story of Jodi Rell, who one short-sighted blogger suggested "may be the nation's most liberal governor." In February, Rell, in spite of a surplus, was calling for major income and cigarette tax increases because the long-term budget prognosis wasn't good and because she wanted to increase education spending by $3.4 billion over five years.
Rell changed her tune in May, adopting a no new taxes stance. She said that new budget projections, which predicted $1.2 billion more in revenue over the next two years than February's projections, made tax increases unnecessary.
I'm a tad bit skeptical of this explanation, seeing as $1.2 billion over two years won't pay for $3.4 billion over five years (did I mention that Rell's initial plan only had the support of 16% of Connecticut residents?). The Democratic legislature did pass a budget with income tax increases for the wealthiest Nutmeggers, but Rell vetoed it. After much acrimony and a special session, the final budget boosted only the cigarette tax.
This goes to show something that Maryland's leaders already know: Political will to fix structural deficits rarely exists until those deficits manifest themselves as immediate shortfalls. That's a better excuse for procrastination than wanting to spend the night at a frat party.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
State Governments Struggle to Close Their Own Gender Pay Gaps4 hours ago
Judge: Texas Can't Kick Planned Parenthood Out of Medicaid4 hours ago
St. Louis Protects Women's Health Decisions, and Missouri Lawmakers Aren't Happy4 hours ago
Maryland's Assault Rifle Ban Passes U.S. Court Muster4 hours ago
How Some Places Are Easing the Often-Fatal Transition From a Psych Ward15 hours ago
Feds Halt High-Speed Rail in California17 hours ago