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You Can Close The Budget Shortfall

Sharpen your pencils and bring your calculators, Montgomery County residents. A state senator and Maryland's budget secretary are scheduled to appear at a forum next month in which participants will get a crack at solving the state's $1.5 billion budget shortfall.

Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and T. Eloise Foster, Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget secretary, are booked for the Sept. 10 event, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Kensington Town Hall.

Organizers plan to distribute budget worksheets that will allow participants to select from various spending cuts and revenue increases to close the projected shortfall in the fiscal year 2008 general fund budget.

"We plan to give the audience the same kinds of options the Governor and General Assembly will be considering." Madaleno said in a statement. "We want this to be a realistic exercise. It's a chance for citizens to learn about the
budget process and to participate in finding a solution."

Charles Duffy of the cable show "Political Pulse" is scheduled to moderate.

By John Wagner  |  August 28, 2007; 10:34 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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We will close the budget shortfall, with our wallets! MD residents might as well take our hard-earned money and burn it for all the good it will do.

Posted by: bigcwb | August 28, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes - it is time to pay. How long did you think you could enjoy the services of state and local government without paying? I know Bobby Haircut led you to believe that you could enjoy the free gravy train indefinitely, but guess what - it's time to face reality and it's called Tax & Spend.

For millenniums, government taxed it people to pay for its functions. The Greeks, the Romans, even the Aztecs found that Tax & Spend was an efficient system. I don't know why Repuglicans can't seem to understand this historically proven concept. But they still think the earth is flat.

Break out the wallet - the Republican Lie has been exposed.

Posted by: Ready to Face the Music | August 28, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Is there anything stopping you MoCo leftists from donating money to the state treasury? If you love big government so much, start writing checks instead of taxing everyone else to death.

Posted by: Taxed To Death | August 28, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

How about killing the ICC? I don't know what percentage is coming from fed/state/local but I bet our share is more than enough to close the shortfall.

Posted by: ICC | August 28, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

True, some of us know the would come when we'd have to face the music. O'Malley is playing this one pretty honestly and actually asking tax-payers which options are smartest. Cancelling the ICC would be $3 billion shot in the arm. No one has ever justified that boondoggle to the tax-payers. My guess is that a very small raise in the gas tax and some budget cuts will bring MD closer to balance.

Posted by: Donny | August 28, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

How about a tax on remittances to foreign countries? That would bring in a hundred million dollars or so.

Posted by: Jorge | August 28, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I think this exercise is a great idea. Wish more pols had the courage to give it a try. It should be mandatory in every county. I've listened to some budget presentations by Madelino when he was a staffer for the MoCo delegation and he knows budget stuff.

Is there anyone in the PG delegation who has the courage/competence/guts to give this a try? A success, or even a favorable showing in this arena might prompt some serious reconsideration of TRIM.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | August 28, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

My own South Four corners neighborhood is bleeding money in the form of curb replacement. Quite literally, hundreds, and I mean hundreds of feet of perfectly curbs are being torn up and replaced with the same thing. Some of them only a few years old.

Posted by: mpp | August 29, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee, D.C. Schools head should be speaking. She wants "to downsize the school system's central command by as much as 30 to 40%. Test scores are dropping my double digits. The answer is not throwing Thornton's new $600 million at the school system and raising taxes to pay for it. The answer is new leadership like Rhee. Take any sales tax increase off the table. Delaware has no sales tax. Why give every Marylander a tax increase every day? Six years ago state aid to local governments was 32% of the state budget, now it is 40%. Cut that aid as well. Anyone at this forum who wants a funding increase or not even a haircut should point out where we can find savings elsewhere. I think the Senator deserves credit for this program. I hope he does not come there thinking tax increases. With all the subprime lending problems and energy cost increases we can't drive the middle class out of Montgomery County.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 29, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

One more thing. Congressman Van Hollen should come too. He has had no events scheduled in Montgomery County for the entire August recess month. He said Members would take August off "to go back to their districts." He is head of the Congressional Campaign Committee and is spending much of his time with lobbyists raising money for close Congressional races across the country. We need better than a half time Congressman. He should be spending that time getting us transportation money so we won't have to listen to calls to raise Maryland gas taxes

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 29, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey Robin - here's a novel idea - why don't you run for Congress?

With all the money your tightwad repuglican friends have, there should be ample cash to fund a campaign.

Posted by: Fickered-Out | August 29, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Is there anything stopping you MoCo leftists from donating money to the state treasury?"

Because they really want more of other people's money to be used instead.

Posted by: Rufus | August 30, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, here is a chance for OMalley and all his cronies to make you numbnuts that voted for all of them think they have a plan...once again, they don't. Well, I say because of this exercise in futality, they are going to wind up draining our wallets anyway for the "SOCIALISTIC STATE OF MARYLAND".
What happened to the surplus Ehrlich had accumulated in just one term??? O Malley went through it in 10 days of they want to raise gas tax, sales tax and anything else that the Bush Administration gave us as a break, to make up for their shortcomings. The socialists want to take it all away.
One recent example is by spending hard earned tax money on social programs for illegal immigrants is a waste, just like the $200K just given to left wing socialists at Casa of Maryland by Van people know this is going on, if you want to keep electing these scumbags like Van Hollen, Cardin, O Malley, Leggett, etc...then you fund them yourself and let me keep my money. I know I can put it to better use. Oh yeah, remember Leggett thumbd his nose at the taxpayers in MD to put up a day labor site when it was turned down in liberal Gaithersburg 30 times...why can't you people open your eyes to what is truly going on??? You make me sick.

Posted by: Bruce | August 31, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

If you libs want to pay for unnecessary programs then send in your money. Don't ask me to give any.

Posted by: Bruce | August 31, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The death of localism? Since when did a community have to get money when it really should be focusing on technology that empowers people to break free from centralization. Why should we have a federalized state or state run community? Will somebody take a look at the comprehensive annual financial reports and quit lying about the need to tax everyone for the "budget". I don't buy this budget shortfall nonsense.

Posted by: joe | September 5, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

What a mess. In Calvert the local tax and spend crowd has built an 8 million dollar library and is now constructing a huge public indoor swimming pool for a county of 70,000 full-time residents. Someone of some importance must have a kid on the swim team. Our schools are palatial, the new library could be a Smithsonian building. The schools had the first tax windfall of a few years ago SPENT befoiew they had the money because the following year they were belly aching about the price of fuel oil. My total property tax bill has nearly doubled. Right before the elections last year the state was sending the tax collector out to asses properties AGAIN and my assessment went through the roof despite a HUGE PREDICTED downturn in the real estate market. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the politicians are wasting our tax dollars on tripe and failing to balance the books each year. Oh it gets better. Last year the county here was BRAGGING about there excellent financial shape. Now the papers are full of tales of woe about the state short fall. These people are dependent on over taxing the middle class, and lower middle class. Prioritizing spending and really planning for the future is not part of their equation. We have an antique public safety system with officials having to scrounge for grant money to get what they need because the politicians have to have their swimming pool! Bah!

Posted by: Doug Smith | October 31, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

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