Press Release: Chairman Scott vs. O’Malley’s Budget Gimmicks

Statement from Maryland Republican Party Chairman Audrey Scott on

Governor Martin O’Malley’s Budget Gimmicks

“It is time for Governor O’Malley to come clean with the people of Maryland regarding his budget gimmicks. While Maryland is in economic crisis and families are being forced to tighten their belts it is becoming clear that Governor O’Malley’s only hope to meet his budget is to continue to raise taxes. It is time for Governor O’Malley to be honest with the people of Maryland.”

23 PERCENT TAX INCREASE?

That’s How Much Another Year Of O’Malley Could Cost Marylanders

FIRST, O’MALLEY TRIED TO USE “ACCOUNTING GIMMICKS” AND “WISHFUL THINKING”

TO GET RID OF $2.9 BILLION BUDGET SHORTFALL

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Budget Results In A $2.9 Billion Budget Gap. “Under laws and contracts Maryland lawmakers have approved in prior years, the state has committed an estimated $15.7 billion in general fund spending in the budget year that begins July 1. The state, however, expects to collect only $12.8 billion in taxes during that time.” (Aaron C. Davis & John Wagner, “O’Malley Aims To Limit Maryland Budget Cuts,” The Washington Post, 1/20/10)

The Washington Post’s Editorial Board Says O’Malley Using “Accounting Gimmicks” And “Some Wishful Thinking” In Attempt To Eliminate Budget Gap. “At the same time, the governor has resorted to more than $1 billion of one-time accounting gimmicks and quick fixes, as well as some wishful thinking. He would transfer $350 million from a fund that collects localities’ income taxes (which will have to be repaid, in $50 million annual chunks, starting in 2012); use $442 million for programs that would otherwise be spent on state construction projects (which will now be postponed); and bank on $389 million in additional federal stimulus funds that may not materialize. On top of all that, the governor — who has already laid off 400 public employees and cut another 3,100 jobs from the payroll — is extending mandatory 10-day unpaid furloughs for 70,000 state workers.” (Editorial, “Postponing The Pain: An Election-Year Budget In Maryland Papers Over Tough Choices To Come,” The Washington Post, 1/24/10)

BUT NOW O’MALLEY CLAIMS HE CAN’T MAKE ANY MORE BUDGET CUTS

BECAUSE HE WOULD BE “FORCE TO CUT FROM BONE AND MUSCLE” …

O’Malley Claims “The Longer We Go Through This Recession, The More We Are Forced To Cut From Bone And Muscle.” “Deep within Maryland’s budgetary catacombs sits a giant pot of money to be used only in a fiscal emergency. But as Gov. Martin O’Malley prepares to bring a third round of proposed budget cuts to the Board of Public Works next month with a $2 billion shortfall looming for fiscal 2011, a number of legislators and state officials say it’s time for the General Assembly to consider drawing down the ‘rainy day fund’…O’Malley (D) said he would like to avoid using reserve funds for operating expenses. But he acknowledged the increasing difficulty of slashing aid to programs, as revenue collections continue to lag. ‘The longer we go through this recession, the more we are forced to cut from bone and muscle,’ he said during last week’s Board of Public Works meeting.’” (Alan Brody, “State Eyeing Rainy Day Fund,” Southern Maryland Newspapers, 10/16/09)

SIGNALING HE WILL INCREASE TAXES BY 23 PERCENT,

SOMETHING O’MALLEY WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM DOING

To Cover $2.9 Billion Budget Gap, Revenue Would Need To Be Increased By 23 Percent. (Aaron C. Davis & John Wagner, “O’Malley Aims To Limit Maryland Budget Cuts,” The Washington Post, 1/20/10

O’Malley Has Not Ruled Out Tax Increases In The Future. “When pressed on whether he was leaving open the possibility of raising taxes should he be reelected, O’Malley did not rule them out. He said that after taking office, he supported a $1.4 billion tax increase, the state’s largest, to close a budget gap he inherited. And he said that while dealing with the recession, he has cut more from the budget than any Maryland governor.” (Aaron C. Davis, “O’Malley Puts ‘Economic Recovery’ Ahead Of Tax Increases,” The Washington Post, 1/22/10)

  • The Baltimore Sun Sees Higher Taxes This Year As A Result Of Budget Problems. “That’s the reality. Where Maryland budget policy is clearly headed – political showmanship or no – is another year of embracing short-term fixes, hunkering down and hoping for the best. Might this lead to a tax hike after the election? Maybe. Unless the economy recovers, it’s hard to believe that won’t happen no matter what lawmakers do this year.” (Editorial, “Budget By Bluster, The Baltimore Sun, 2/16/10)
  • O’Malley’s Budget Relies On Borrowing And Stimulus Money, “Setting Up Marylanders For A Broad Tax Increase In 2011.” “Critics have said that the final spending plan of O’Malley’s term, which relies heavily on borrowing and federal stimulus money, is setting up Marylanders for a broad tax increase in 2011 should he be reelected.” (Aaron C. Davis, “O’Malley Puts ‘Economic Recovery’ Ahead of Tax Increases,” The Washington Post, 1/22/10)

###

Authority: Maryland Republican Party, R. Christopher Rosenthal, Treasurer. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Drivers Beware: Speed Cameras Up and Running

Two speed cameras have been activated in Baltimore County, one in Arbutus and the other in Dundalk.  An article on Explore Baltimore County, by Bryan Sears, gives details on the whole ordeal.

Here are my thoughts. Granted I’m no expert, but if you’ve been to Montgomery County or even coming North on 95,  just above of the DC Beltway, you already know where I’m going with this.  Imagine you’re cruising down the road, whether you’re going over the posted limit or not, and you see a police officer parked off on the side of the road.  What do you do?  Well, some people glance down at their speedometers just to check and make sure they’re still good.  Others simply take their foot off the gas just in case (that’s me).  But the vast majority, slam on their brakes, whether or not they were speeding to begin with.  The phenomenon surrounding speed cameras gives the word, overreaction, a whole new meaning.

One time I was driving back from Ikea College Park (love Ikea by the way) and just as I see the sign off the side of the interstate, “Work Zone, Speed Cameras in Use,”  I notice the onset of brake lights.  The guy or gal directly in front of me slams on their brakes so fast and hard, it almost seemed like they were coming to a complete stop.  Thankfully there was no on the lane next to me or I would have hit them.  Ironically neither of us were going over 55 mph.  As I looked around, I noticed that this guy was not the only one completely overreacting.  There were many cars a  swerving cars, fingers raising , and horns a beeping.  I thought they should change the sign to read “Caution death trap ahead. Speed Cameras in use.”

My other encounter with speed cameras is no less annoying.  As I was visiting my friend in Montgomery County, we were driving down some random two lane road, of which I was warned about the speed cameras.  I attempted to be very careful, but none the less, a few months later I received a ticket in my mailbox.  Yes months, since we moved and they pulled our info before we officially changed our address and then the USPS failed to forward the citation.  Regardless, I opened the letter to find a bill for $40 and a picture of my car and my license plate.  Oddly, my van was in a turning lane .  I don’t know about you, but unless your reckless, I’m not seeing how you could possibly speed in a turning lane.  The only thing I could guess was that someone else flew past me and the camera caught me.  However, by the time I received the citation, it was already passed due.  Now I owed a late fee.  I decided not to fight it.  Really, I don’t need a reason to go back to Montgomery County.  It’s like a Venus Fly Trap, just waiting to attack you and drain your wallet.  So I sent in my check.  And again, a month or so later, they send, to my old address, back my check and a letter explaining that they couldn’t process my payment because I didn’t add my citation # to the check.  Seriously, you can’t search by last name? They told me that I had a certain amount of days, like 10 or so, to return the payment before they would notify the State and put a hold on my registration.  December 26, I resent my check with the citation number clearly (and slightly bolder than necessary) written in the subject line.

Guess what showed up in my mailbox a few days later…yep, a hold on my registration.  Aren’t they so sweet?  When I called to fix this oversight, I was told that I had to provide proof that I changed my address is time.  So I did, and guess what?  They still haven’t removed the flag.  All in all, a ticket that I’m fairly sure I didn’t deserve went from being a simple $40 to $95.

Of course I want people to respect school and work zone limits.  Safety is far more important, right?  My experience with speed camera proves to me, at least, that 1) it doesn’t necessarily make things safer, and 2) it seems like it’s more a source of revenue than anything else.

Is the Census Getting a Little Personal?

Get Involved: AFP Rally in DC

Straight from my inbox:

Thursday, Feb 25, 9:30 am outside Blair House , 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC, a rally concerning health care sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. The purpose is to make Presidential meeting attendees hear citizen concerns.  The group will move to the JW Marriott a few blocks away for a program on Critical Care:  The Patients’ Summit at 11:30 am.  For more information, join the AFP conference call Tuesday evening, 7:30 pm.  Dial in to (888) 886-6603 and use Ext.14152#.  If you plan to attend the summit at the Marriott, click here.

Lincoln vs. Obama

You know, there’s something that’s been on my mind lately that I just can’t reconcile.  I’m a conservative.  I believe in a smaller government that lets the people decide how to live their lives, spend their money and raise their children.  I believe that teaching a man to fish serves him better throughout his lifetime than simply handing him a fish.  I believe this country has been made great by people who worked hard to have more than their parents did, who thought it’s better to do for themselves than to let someone else do for them.

I could keep going, but that’s really not the exact point I’m trying to make.  The thing that’s been bothering me is this:  Often times during his campaign and throughout his presidency, Obama has said that his favorite president, the one he looks up to and studies is Abraham Lincoln.  But if this is true, than either I need to brush up on my history or Obama needs to take a step back and compare his philosophies of government to his presidential idol’s.

Here’s a Lincoln quote… see if it lines up with what Obama’s been trying to do in this country over the past year:

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative… and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

And now, here’s a very famous and much talked about quote from Obama during his campaign:

“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

I could go on with quote after quote from each president, but I’m not trying to write a book here.  I just wanted to get my thoughts out on the table.  Now, I’m certainly not saying that Obama isn’t allowed to admire Lincoln… Lincoln’s a great president to admire.  But call a spade a spade, Obama.  The two of you don’t have the same philosophies on how to make (or keep) this country great.  How can he be your favorite president if you don’t even share the same fundamental values on government’s role in the lives of its people?

A Sign of What’s To Come!!!

I’ve already predicted that Ehrlich will be running.  Honestly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together.  However, just in case you’re still skeptical, Team Ehrlich has officially sent out a request for supporters to join their Facebook page.  I feel like saying, “Will the real Ehrlich please stand up?”  There are a number of groups and fan pages dedicated to Ehrlich, but THIS is the one to join.  If you haven’t already, become a fan.

Happy About Happy Hour

What could be better than a few like-minded friends enjoying good food, drinks and great political conversations after a week of living like Eskimos?  Try about 50 new friends doing the same!  Our first Happy Hour at Ships Cafe was a resounding success last night (thanks to all who came out).  So, we think we’ll make it a habit.

Al enjoying the company... company enjoying the food!

Out of the 50 people who came to Ships last night, many were relatively new faces around the PVRC.  And many of the new faces were young, full of life, energy, new ideas and ready to get involved. I’d say, with the momentum we’ve got going for us now, the sky’s the limit!  I see big things in our future (and some big political changes around here too!).

Augie chatting it up at the bar

Five candidates enjoyed the atmosphere last night, our own Steve, Al and Augie, and two candidates from Howard County (Ellicott City & Elkridge)… which was great since we had some Ellicott Citians (just go with it) in attendance.  The candidates each took a turn addressing the crowd, and the response was great!  Chris Cavey was there to show his support as well as a few friends from the Howard County GOP Clubs.  Isn’t it great to be noticed and supported?

Steve showing off his Polar Bear Plunge sweatshirt

And through our 50/50 raffle we were even able to raise some funds for the PVRC while giving Marylanders a little chance to gamble in their own state!  And it was a bonus to be able to host the event in a private room with its own bar.

Hillary welcoming the Koloskis and selling raffle tickets

We couldn’t be happier about the turn out and are already brainstorming ways to make subsequent happy hours even happier.  So, if you missed it, don’t worry… just come on out next month!

Details are in the process of being firmed up for March’s Happy Hour, but plan on making room in your calendar for the 16th or 17th (which is St. Patrick’s Day)… same time, same great place.