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Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

O'Malley e-mails state employees link to Times story on states' budget crises

By John Wagner


O'Malley state mug.jpgIn an apparent bid to brace state employees for looming budget cuts, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Monday e-mailed them some recommended reading: a link to a New York Times story about states facing crises because of their debt loads.

"I hope you will take a few minutes to read it to get a sense of the difficult choices that states are faced with this year," O'Malley (D) wrote. "While Maryland has fared better than most, we still face significant budget challenges in the year ahead. As we have in past years, I look forward to working in partnership with you, in an honest and open way, to address these budget challenges and protect our priorities."

The Sunday Times story says that states could face even larger problems than budget gaps of recent years, warning that "even when the economy recovers, the shortfalls will not disappear, because many state and local governments have so much debt -- several trillion dollars' worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view -- that it could overwhelm them in the next few years."

O'Malley is required to submit a balanced budget for the 2012 fiscal year in January. Aides suggest he will start previewing some of the difficult decisions that Maryland faces in the days and weeks ahead. His email to state employees made no mention of any potential cuts.

By John Wagner  | December 6, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Governor, John Wagner  
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Comments

Governor O'Malley's employee email is disingenuous. Rather than cutting costs he has been hiding his under funded spending. Now O'Malley attempts to shift the burden of his fiscal folly onto the backs of state employees.

As the New York Times article points out, "...state and local governments have so much debt -- several trillion dollars' worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view -- that it could overwhelm them in the next few years."

Maryland politicians are guilty of hiding debt too. During Governor Schaefer’s administration, employee's pension benefits were reduced and their working hours were increased to restore funding for pensions. (Legislators' pensions are separate and can only be reduced by them.)

Following Schaefer, Governor Glendening promptly under funded employee's retirement system to pay for Rocky Gap golf course and other pork projects. Speaker of the House Casper Taylor, Senator Barbara Hoffman and Nancy Kopp all participated in this "sleight of hand".

Today these three protagonists are on a committee planning to reduce employee pension benefits again.

O'Malley continues the tradition. Make employees pay for these legislative sins of omission. The foxes are in the hen house.

Posted by: karlpfrommer1 | December 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

OMalleys email is an insult to state employees. OMalley is playing his guitar while the state burns. His mantra of everthing for schools nothing for the rest of the state is wrong. State workers shouldn't be the whipping boys for the Dems inability to stop spending money they don't have. BTW I don't work for any government, and hope I never will.

Posted by: VikingRider | December 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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