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.
5 States Sue U.S. Over Obamacare Protections for Transgender Patients2 hours ago
Lead Pollution Closes a Public Housing Complex and a Newly Built School in Indiana2 hours ago
Tax Battle Kills Utah's Bid for Facebook Facility2 hours ago
Scientists: Zika Threat in Southern U.S. Should End by Winter2 hours ago
Seattle Gets Its First Cabinet-Level Director of Homelessness3 hours ago
Court: Philadelphia Can't Ban Advocacy Ads at the Airport3 hours ago