Based on published reports, Governor Martin O'Malley must find a way to raise $600 million to balance the FY 2012 budget. Therefore, he finds himself with only two options: curtail spending or raise taxes. Considering he has a willing legislature at his disposal, I suspect he'll opt for the latter. After all, with session still a week away, some Democrats and Republicans have already pre-filed legislation that would add to an ever growing deficit.
First, Democratic Delegate Melvin L. Stukes proposed a bill that would grant $500,000 to constructing a Heritage Center in Baltimore City. Likewise, Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell asked for the same thing in her chamber. Second, Republican Delegates Adelaide Eckardt and Jeannie Haddaway along with Democrat Rudolph Cane seek $300,000 for the "design and construction of a replica of the Choptank River Lighthouse located in Cambridge".
Sure, these projects may have importance to some in local communities, but I fail to see the cumulative benefit for Maryland taxpayers. To me, that should serve as a litmus test for the allocation of state funds. Of course, in this economic environment, even the most pressing needs warrant the utmost scrutiny.
Come next week, I am certain will see more of this from Delegates and Senators on both sides of the aisle. Rest assured, you'll likely read about it here, especially if the Anne Arundel County Delegation decides participate in this fiscal irresponsibility.