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O'Malley Pushes Back on MoCo Funding

The Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on a plan today to provide $46.3 million for school construction in Montgomery County next year, shy of a $55 million goal to which Gov. Martin O'Malley agreed as he was courting the votes of Montgomery lawmakers during a special legislative session last fall.

O'Malley (D) sought to deflect criticism on the issue by pointing out that Montgomery will get the largest share of the $340 million allocated statewide next year and that the county is faring far better than it did under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

During the first two years of O'Malley's term, Montgomery will have received more than $98 million for school construction, compared to $19.6 million during Ehrlich's first two years, O'Malley said during yesterday's meeting of the Board of Public Works, a panel comprised of the governor, Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D).

"Was there another county that got as much as $98 million?" O'Malley asked Joe Lavorgna, who oversees school construction in Montgomery County and attended the board's meeting.

Lavorgna had been invited to the lectern by Franchot, a former Montgomery delegate, to explain the ramifications of receiving less funding than Montgomery officials had anticipated based on closed-door conversations during the special session. During that session, lawmakers took tough votes on tax increases and slot machines.

Lavorgna said that some local money would be used to close the shortfall in construction funding and that some projects could be pushed back.

O'Malley asked Lavorgna to give a copy of a chart showing a comparison to the Ehrlich years to his boss, Montgomery Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. O'Malley said spoke recently with Weast by phone.

Lavorgna appeared taken aback by the exchange.

"I'm not here to complain about the state aid," he said.

By Anne Bartlett  |  May 21, 2008; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Montgomery County was promised $55 million in return for its votes in favor of all the tax increases. O'Malley reneged. Our legislators should try and repeal some of the tax increses next session. It is that simple.

O'Malley gave us up to a 52.63% increase increase in the state income tax. The 16% of Marylanders who live in Montgomery County will pay about 60% of this tax increase.

O'Malley gave us a 20% increase in the state sales tax.

o'Malley gave us a 20% increase in the car tax.

O'Malley gave us an 18% in the corporate tax.

We are way worse off now than when O'Malley took office.

Mr. Lavorgna should take me with him the next time he goes to testify before the Board of Public Works.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | May 21, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

So tired of malcontents whining and misconstruing facts. Hyperbole doesn't change facts. So sit back and read, this may take a while:

7 of 9 Mont County Senators rightfully voted for raising the high income earner tax to repeal the computer tax; Guv did what he was asked by your reps. Can't blame Mr. O'Malley for this tax, nor is it necessarily a bad tax in light of President Bush's tax cuts that have benefited the very same earners you seek to protect disproportionately, ie. Bush cuts save family earning 150 k 4k, save family earning 1 million, 140k annually.

Lets also give real numbers, of the 6300 tax payers STATEWIDE affected by this increase, 3100 live in Montgomery County. State wide this affects .3 percent of all taxpayers. Fact is working class families are not affected by the income tax restructuring in Maryland, the scheme was finally made fairer.

20% sales tax increase? Actually its impact is .094%-ie. 1 dollar item that used to cost 1.05 after taxes now costs 1.06, that additional penny is actually less than one percent more than you would have paid last year. I realize claiming 20% makes the sales tax increase seem more onerous, however in reality its effect on household budgets is less than 1 percent.

Car sales tax went up 1%, people who buy a new car without trade in will pay 1% more not 20% more. However, to the consumers benefit, trade in comes off the taxable value. Under old system a 20k car was taxed 5%, or $1000 no matter the trade. Now that car is taxed $1200 without trade in, with 5k on trade in, only 15k is taxed for 900 dollar sales tax paid, actual savings under the new law of $100 dollars, or in Ficker math a 10% tax cut.

As for School funding, Governor is right, Montgomery shouldn't complain. Under Ehrlich you got 19 million in new school construction dollars over his first two years, under this Governor, in tougher economic times, because of his budget priority of building new schools, you have received 5 times that amount, or 98 million (that is record funding!). That is a ton of cash in tough times. Looks like Franchot's effort to create dissension failed miserably in light of Governor pointing out the facts.

Not to mention Guv's refusal to pass your teacher pension contributions, all local employees, down to locals prevented local property tax increases or his steadfast decision to keep in-state tuition frozen for the third straight year which under Ehrlich rose 42% in three years.

Reality is Governor, with help of courageous legislators like the Montgomery reps, solved the structural deficit with a long term solution, a revenue stream without compromising values like education. That is fiscally responsible government, not shying away from tough decisions or creating more debt, ala Bush/Bush/Reagonomics.

Maryland is in better stead because of his leadership and the leadership of Montgomery County's very capable and strong legislative leaders. We have finally put reliable revenue streams in place to pay for the priorities of our citizens, ie. Thornton,transportation (ICC), pubic safety, etc.

As for you going to Annapolis to act as anyone's representative, I believe the Voters of Montgomery County have spoken on this issue. . . over and over and over and over again.

Posted by: Lefthook | May 24, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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