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O'Malley Touts "Fiscal Responsibility"

At first blush, last year's special legislative session in Maryland might seem a curious couple of weeks for Gov. Martin O'Malley(D) to voluntarily revisit. Multiple taxes were increased, and whatever the benefit to the state's finances, it came at a considerable loss to the governor's popularity.

But in a speech in Washington last week, O'Malley (D) spotlighted the session, casting it as an exercise in restoring "fiscal responsibility," a phrase that appeared in his remarks no fewer than 17 times.

"Nothing we did was popular, and nothing we accomplished in the three-week special session was easy," O'Malley told a lunchtime audience at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

O'Malley argued that, by cutting the state budget and raising taxes, Maryland had taken an important step toward preserving its priorities for future generations.

"When faced with a crippling structural deficit in Maryland, we asked our neighbors to embrace, once again, the politics of posterity," O'Malley said, making use of a catchphrase that increasingly finds its way into his public remarks.

The politics of posterity, he explained, is "the politics which embraces the duty we have not only to our neighbors, but also to the next generation."

O'Malley ticked off a long list of initiatives that he suggested would not have been possible if not for the special session. Among them: holding the line on college tuition for a third year in a row, spending record amounts on public school construction, expanding subsidized health insurance and knocking out a backlog of DNA samples at a state lab.

The governor faced a friendly audience that asked no hostile questions. His ability to make the same pitch to more skeptical voters could well determine his reelection prospects in 2010.

By Anne Bartlett  |  August 4, 2008; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Wait a minute; they didn't cut the state budget. They just slowed the rate of increase, which is definitely not the same thing.

Posted by: Liz | August 4, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

We got a 20% increase in the state sales tax which every man, woman and child pay every day.

We got a 20% increase in the car tax.

We got up to a 52.6% increase in the state income tax.

We got a 18% increase in the corporate tax. In order to fill a "deficit" in a state budget that was increasing 8%!

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | August 4, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Whether we think its just rhetoric or not, fiscal responsibility will always be welcome by this taxpayer. There is almost no realistic way to reduce taxes and budgets in this failing economy. The U.S. dollar just will not buy what it once did, so it takes more dollars to accomplish the same functions.

However, I'm certain that all tax increases can be held to explainable levels. I'm still waiting for ANYONE to explain why $3,100,000,000 of our tax dollars are being wasted on the ICC toll road. I've asked the question many times before and no one dares response informatively.

So, if the Governor is citing fiscal responsibility, he can begin by cost-justifying the most expensive "transportation" project on the radar today.

Posted by: Donny | August 5, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I think O'Malley CAN be counted on for fiscal responsibility, though it will be extremely tough for anyone to get a good result. The U.S. dollar has lost so much of its value that it takes much more to serve the same government functions.

The real way to prove the Governor in fiscal responsibility is to cancel or at least assess the $3,100,000,000 ICC toll road project. No one can offer a justification for its expensive construction cost nor the minimum $14.00 per round trip toll. If any wasteful project begged to be measured for cost justification - the ICC does.

Posted by: Donny | August 6, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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