O'Malley Overlooks Some Holes in His Economic Record
Your editorial "O'Malley's Tutorial" (May 23) highlights what has become a national case study for spend-and-tax governing. This comes on the heels of Maryland's latest tax increase on incomes starting at just $100,000 per year. Gov. Martin O'Malley's response (Letters, May 31) doesn't convince.
He ignores the findings of his legislature's own nonpartisan budget analysts that Maryland's income tax burden is the second highest in the nation as a percentage of income. And that was before the latest income tax increase.
Mr. O'Malley touts Maryland's triple-A bond rating but omits mentioning that Moody's has a negative outlook on the rating. The governor and the legislature have sought to use bonds and other borrowing to continue to fund programs that politicians in other states have gutted during the economic downturn.
According to Moody's, Maryland has "high concentrations of federal government employment and federal procurement," and is exposed to the consequences of federal government downsizing and spending cuts. The governor says that he has cut $8 billion from the budget since he took office. A budget that has grown from $29.6 billion to $35.9 billion on Mr. O'Malley's watch does not add up to $8 billion in "cuts."
Just after the income tax hike was enacted, the Labor Department said that Maryland led the nation in job loss. The state's comptroller said Maryland must still create nearly 150,000 additional jobs just to return to pre-recession levels. When you lose corporate headquarters like Black & Decker and Northrop Grumman, you lose a lot of jobs.
The governor's choice to meet these challenges seems clear: rely on government for economic growth—get more, spend more, tax more. But by making that choice, he commits Maryland to a public-sector economy. Successful economic growth depends on the private sector, not the government.
It should come as no surprise that Mr. O'Malley's choice to build bigger government through these failed spend-and-tax government-growth policies pique the interest of the national press.
Kimberly M. Burns
Maryland Business for Responsive Government