January 25, 2011

Maryland's budget still lacking real reform

Eileen Norcross

Senior Research Fellow

Looking at Governor O’Malley’s recent budget proposal, it seems to be an attempt to cover old problems, rather promoting any real solutions. 

Maryland politicians have created a narrative about themselves, claiming that they are fiscally disciplined, but their spending limits are effective. The truth is that in the past decade, they have vastly increased spending, raised their debt caps, and used gimmicks to balance their budget.

O'Malley's budget is the archetype of an effort to "muddle through" with a patchwork of narrow cuts and accounting gimmicks, instead of real reform to unsustainable compensation practices. 

Previous bailouts dulled the consequences of the state’s fiscal choices, and lessened the incentive for the state to address the causes of budgetary imbalance.

Stimulus money filled Maryland’s gap in past two years, but now state lawmakers will have to deal with the real budget and the real budget deficit.