For nearly a decade, the members of the House Republican Caucus have held firm in the belief that our state does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. A recent meeting of the state’s Spending Affordability Committee is yet another reminder that, without meaningful spending reforms, our chronic budget deficits will only continue. During the O’Malley years, the constant answer to the state’s budgetary woes was tax and fee increases (more than 80 of them in eight years), whopping increases in borrowing, and robbing funds from transportation and environmental programs.
Enter Governor Hogan, who has had the audacity to suggest that instead of increasing the tax burden on our citizens, he and the General Assembly work together to rein in spending and enact fiscally responsible measures to put Maryland on a secure path that eliminates the constant cycle of deficits and tax hikes. But the Democratic leadership in the General Assembly has fought the governor’s efforts and pushed for even more spending.
It’s not as though Maryland’s economy is doing poorly. In fact, it is very strong. Revenues have grown by about 3.5 percent — more than three times the national GDP (gross domestic product) growth. Governor Hogan’s commonsense reforms have led to rapid private sector job growth, median income growth and Maryland’s lowest unemployment rate in nearly a decade. But even with growing revenues, the legislature is still writing checks that Maryland’s taxpayers cannot cash. The fact that the state is once again faced with a structural deficit is a testament to the Democratic leadership’s addiction to spending and their refusal to make legitimate spending reforms.