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Post-debate fact-checking gives different takes on O'Malley's spending

Ann Marimow

Thumbnail image for factchecker.gifEven before The Washington Post debate began Thursday afternoon, the campaign of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) distributed a bound booklet to reporters with the title: "Debate Fact Sheets." Under the heading of "O'Malley's Record of Fiscal Responsibility," the campaign credits O'Malley with cutting spending 3 percent during his term. During the debate, O'Malley said, "We've cut state spending more than any other governor has over a four-year period."

Thumbnail image for DebateArrow.JPG

The 3 percent figure O'Malley uses refers to general fund spending. That's one way to look at the numbers. But look at it another way and the numbers tell a somewhat different story.

From 2007 to 2011, total appropriations increased 1.2 percent, according to a report from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, and the operating budget increased 7.2 percent.

That's not a big number over a four-year period, but it is an increase -- not a decrease, as O'Malley's way of viewing the budget suggests.

"They all pick the numbers they like the best and they are all real numbers," said the state's chief legislative policy analyst, Warren G. Deschenaux.

In fact, by Deschenaux's calculations, general fund spending actually decreased by a greater percentage than O'Malley lists -- 7.5 percent over the four-year period.

By Ann Marimow  | October 14, 2010; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, Fact-Checker, Maryland State Budget  
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Comments

The article's title leads one to think O’Malley did stretch the truth when in fact it’s subject to interpretation. However, it does appear that WaPo does create headlines that deceive readers in an attempt to gain readership. Just saying!

Posted by: doesntmatter | October 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It just goes to show that O'Malley has a passing acquaintance with the truth. he would not know it if it bit him.

Posted by: cheverly1 | October 14, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

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