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House GOP Announces Budget Proposal

House Republicans put forward a plan today to solve Maryland's fiscal problems without raising taxes, proposing instead to curtail planned spending on education and other programs and to legalize slot-machine gambling.

The plan calls for limiting overall growth in state spending next year to 3.5 percent compared to current projections of 8.5 percent. And Republicans would rely on $600 million from auctioning licenses to operate slots parlors at a half-dozen locations in Maryland.

House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) called the plan "a very credible, and in my opinion, very well thought-out alternative" to proposals from leading Democrats to raise taxes to help close a budget shortfall next year of nearly $1.5 billion in the state's $15 billion general fund budget.

But the Republican plan drew immediate criticism for Democrats for its lack of details. The plan provides targets for spending reductions in nine broad areas but does not spell out the implications on specific programs.

Spending on public education, for example, would grow by 2.3 percent next year under the GOP plan, instead of the 5.9 percent that budget analysts say is needed to keep pace with surging enrollments and the requirements of a landmark education law passed in 2002.

"They leave open the details to just how one reaches that solution," said Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who was briefed on the plan Tuesday night by Republican leaders.

By Anne Bartlett  |  August 15, 2007; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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O'Malley demands "details" now ???

Funny, I don't remember any "details" about his massive tax increases being offered when he ran for office. Nor did he mention the legislation he just enacted that will add $3000 (or MORE) to the price of all new cars sold in the state. Nor all the new excess spending....

On and on and on with these Democrats.

Posted by: gitarre | August 15, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Typical Republicans. They pound their chests, make grandiose statements, appeal to the lowest denominator and lack any sort of substance.

I am sure the Repugs have a magic plan that eludes us all about taking Ehrlich's deficit and transform it into a balanced budget. All we need to do is plant magic beans, smoke this funny cigarette and look the other way while they plant gambling parlors around the state, but not in their neighborhoods.

Posted by: Fickered-Out | August 15, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect, this GOP budget proposal seems more suited for Tiajuana than Maryland. Reduce spending on education? Make slot machine revenue top priority? O'Malley, I don't need details...I've heard enough from these bums. If that is the most constructive contribution the GOP can muster...send them fishing while you work out a real solution. Just cancel the $3 billion ICC pork-barrel and things will be nice and balanced.

Posted by: Donny | August 15, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

John Wagner's statement above is puzzling. He says above that budget analysts believe that a 5.9% increase in spending on public education is needed to keep up with enrollment increases and Thornton increases. Yet a quote from a recent press release by the
Governor says that, "The FY 2008 Budget provides $5.2 billion in K-12 education funding including a $680 million increase in school aid." That comes out to a 13% increase. Which is it? 5.9% or 13%?

Nevertheless the best GOP alternative to an O'Malley tax increase would be a proposal for a 2 cent cut in the state sales tax. O'Malley's strategy includes the hope that the tax increase will be forgotten by 2010. That increase is sure to make many, many voters very angry. A continuing proposal to cut the sales tax would keep the pot boiling instead of putting it on the back burner.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 15, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The reception given the tax increase of O'Malley (and the Warren Buffett types on the Post editorial board)will of course be affected by the stock market and the subprime lending fiasco. Today the market went down about 160 points with 29 or 30 blue chips losing. No money down loans have disappeared. Talk of a tax increase looks like idiocy on a day like this.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 15, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, Ficker is an expert on idiocy.

Posted by: Fickered-out | August 16, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Donny, please show me where the GOP says it wants to "reduce spending on education." The last time I checked, a 2.3% increase is not a reduction. Also, while you are at it, why don't you show me any evidence that increasing education spending has any affect on the quality of education received by school kids.

Posted by: MK | August 17, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

MK, good spin attempt. The burden of proof is not in my corner, sir. The burden of proof is on the MD GOP fringe that presents themselves as anti-education and ardently pro-slots. I am opposed to their proposed cuts to the education budget and programs. The MD GOP proposed a "solution", I am against it, some may be for it. It should be painfully obvious - that the burden of proof is on the MD GOP...I wish them luck with their proposed "solution"...not out of support, but out of sportsmanship...and pity. Good discussion though. Thanks.

Posted by: Donny | August 17, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Donny, you say you are "opposed to their proposed cuts to the education budget and programs." Again, please tell me how a 2.3% increase is a cut. Also, how is this anti-education? Do you really think the problem with education in our state is that there isn't enough money spent on it?

Posted by: MK | August 17, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

So Donny, you admit you were lying when you said the Republicans want to cut spending on education when they really just want to reduce the growth of spending.

Pity your mom didn't teach you not to lie.

Posted by: Rufus | August 17, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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