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Santa Claus and the Grinch

In the next two weeks, Senate budget writers will try to shave $100 million from the spending plan proposed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.

Leading up to those decisions, the Republican governor held a series of news conferences last week to highlight programs he said should be protected, from the salaries of correctional officers to funding for the disabled community. Ehrlich cast recommendations by the Department of Legislative Services as proposed budget reductions from the Democratic-controlled General Assembly and that approach appears to have irritated Democratic budget writers charged with making decisions about what to cut.

"I'm sick and tired of being characterized as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas," said Sen. P.J. Hogan (D-Montgomery), the vice chairman of the Senate budget committee.

"If Santa Claus didn't overspend by $100 million, we wouldn't be in this situation. This is simply a governor who overspent."

A spokeswoman for the governor, Shareese DeLeaver, had a different take on the famous Dr. Seuss tale.

"As I recall the ending of that story correctly," DeLeaver said, "The Grinch became a Santa, so there's still time for the legislature to change its partisan ways."

By Ann Marimow  |  March 6, 2006; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Governor  
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The Grinch may have become a Santa in the original story, but unfortunately the General Assembly doesn't have that option!

As far as budget systems go, the Maryland constitution gives most of the power to the governor. Only the governor can propose a budget, move money around within the budget, or (as has been the case this year) add money to the budget. The General Assembly only has the power to cut spending.

It's really a sweet deal for the executive branch... dole out the $$$ like gifts from under the tree, even when it's fiscally irresponsible, and let the legislature take the bad wrap for making unpopular cuts.

Perhaps it's time for PJ Hogan to unwrap that constitutional amendment he's introduced in past years and restore some balance to the system!?!

Posted by: Russ | March 6, 2006 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Please join us regarding an important message about the state of higher education in Maryland.

About 15-25 students from the University of Maryland, College Park will join Delegate Liz Bobo and other state delegates for a press conference on Tuesday March 7, 2006 to express their support for a tuition freeze at Maryland colleges and universities through increased funding to the University System of Maryland.

What: Press Conference with UM students and state delegates
Where: 218 Old House building, Annapolis (Howard county delegation conference room)
When: 12:00 PM

For more information, please call Jahantab Siddiqui at 410-227-0590.

Posted by: Jahantab Siddiqui | March 7, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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