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Friday, November 9, 2007

ON NOTICE: Martin O'Malley

I loved him.  I wanted him to be president.

And I won't lie and say that part of my opinion of him lately is based on the Martin O'Malley-like character on The Wire.  But, he's really just done a piss-assed job since he got into the Governor's office.

Keep in mind that I used to work in the Governor's office under Glendening (ugh).  I saw so much waste, so many things that were done for no reason at all except to spend money (or so it looked like to my high school eyes).  Part of my job was to make 250 photo copies a day of about 100 different news clippings clipped out of newspapers, and then interoffice them and fedex them to people in Annapolis and around the state.  That was 1995/96, so let's hope that part of the office has gone electronic.

I KNOW there are things that can be cut out of the budget.  You want to bring in slots AND raise taxes???  Are you KIDDING ME?????????  Where did Ehrich's money go??  I mean, I can't 100% trust the republicans to say what is going on, but it does seem like we were in better shape and then Martin did NO work on anything and now suddenly is like "oh shit, we've got a deficit!"  And the deficit is being RAISED by the special session he called...

It's mind blowing.  I can't fathom how insane this is.

You just don't raise a bunch of taxes when (in my opinion), we're on the verge of a recession.  We're trying to avoid recession and he wants to raise taxes.  And even worse, he wants to do it to things like lawn services and hair services - small businesses that are having a hard enough time in economic slow downs.  These are the people who need the cash the most.  Are we raising taxes, then putting them out of business, and then we get to support them with state money that we got from raising taxes??  Is that what this is??

More on this later (I'll edit this), but I have a meeting that I must get to.  But, everyday I get more and more angry over this stuff.  And don't get me started on GW Bush's comment yesterday, "You can't be president and the head of the military at the same time..."  UGH.


Abby said...

Hey Kim-

I know you're not done with this, but just wanted to say that while I don't agree completely with O'Malley's plan to fix the deficit, it's not really fair to blame the deficit on him. The below quote is from The Maryland Policy Blog, written in 2005, which is when Erlich had the $1 billion surplus:

"As anyone who has ever balanced a checkbook knows, when you receive a big (and unexpected) check from Grandma, you don’t just spend it. You look at what you need, what you want, and what you anticipate down the road. Right?

In other words, despite this influx of unexpected money into the state’s treasury, Maryland is still facing a significant structural deficit. Down the road, say in FY 2007 and FY 2008, Maryland will experience a significant gap between revenues and the costs of running the government. The existence of this “structural deficit” is being overshadowed by the presence of this “extra” money.

So to answer my own question (and to briefly revisit Grandma), I would spend some of the $1 billion on a few needs, a couple of wants, and put the rest away for a rainy day. The rains will definitely come. For a family, the rains can be in the form of needing new tires or illness. For Maryland, the rains could be in the form of a $1 billion structural deficit in the next two years or federal Medicaid cuts."

You can read the full post at:

Basically, this deficit has been predictable since well before O'Malley took office due to a whole host of factors. Erlich and the state legislature didn't take action to fix it in advance, so O'Malley has to deal with it now. Personally, I'm pretty upset that he wants to deal with it by putting in slots - the area around Pimlico has enough issues without adding the fairly obvious drawbacks and side effects of putting in slot machines too. But, I thought it was worth mentioning that O'Malley didn't create the deficit.

Sandra said...

I'm not a fan of slots due to the real cost we all pay (est. at 5 billion in USA)... neighborhoods go downhill, attracts crime to areas, etc. etc.

I would rather have my taxes increased a bit and NOT have slots. Both? Geez, time to move to another state.

Wacky Neighbor said...

I don't think it's accurate to blame the budget problems on Martin O'Malley (or at least not solely or predominantly). This was completely foreseeable and would have happened regardless of the winner of last year's elections.

From the Washington Post (Dec. 2006):

The new projections from the Board of Revenue Estimates come as [Martin O'Malley] is scrambling to determine how quickly he can make good on more than 30 campaign spending pledges without raising taxes, a step aides say O'Malley is loath to take in his first year in office. O'Malley's first budget proposal is due Jan. 19, two days after he is sworn in, and estimates have shown a shortfall exceeding $400 million in his first year and $1.6 billion by the second year of his term.

Keep in mind that these shortfalls were predicted based on taxes and spending at the end of Ehrlich's term, not based on O'Malley's proposed budget. Lo and behold, here we are facing a big deficit that was predicted even before O'Malley had officially become governor.

That said, it doesn't get him off the hook for actually having to do something about it. I don't know enough of the details to suggest how they could cut enough spending to avoid raising taxes entirely, but I'm sure a more substantial amount could be cut than is being proposed. As for slots, I'm still not in favor of them (particularly as a source of state revenue), but O'Malley and Ehrlich were both in favor of slots. As for tax increases, I would rather not pay more in taxes (income or sales), but it's also pretty clear that the Senate and the House have driving some of the worse tax ideas right now.

Lyss said...

I hated O'Malley when I lived in the city and obviously my feelings haven't changed. He added taxes to crazy things like my cell phone (just because I live in the city!?!). The nicer neighborhoods got nothing to show for the insane taxes. Trash blows around the streets. Crime is going through the roof. My old neighborhood (walking from locust point to federal hill) was much safer than it is now. If I still lived there, I wouldn't feel comfortable walking in the evening alone. There have been muggings near the nicer restaurants on Charles - friends of ours that work in those restaurants tell us about it.

Remember the blizzard?!? We didn't get plowed for a week.

This situation doesn't surprise me at all.

Personally I'm for slots. I'm against a government that feels the need to protect people from themselves.

Don't blame me - I voted for Ehrlich. :)

Kim said...

It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to write more on this within any reasonable amount of time :(

I will say that I can understand that O'Malley is not responsible for the debt, but he is responsible for calling the Special Session, which produces more debt. Poor planning is happening at all levels of Maryland government.

I'd say probably Glendenning is more responsible, and I despise him. I think Ehrlich was more heading in the right direction than any of the dems recently, and I say this as a former O'Malley supporter.

As for slots, I'm for them. I want to support horse racing, and I do think that people are going to just drive farther to play at this point (to West Virginia or wherever).

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