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The Baltimore Sun

Opinion: Carroll County delegate says O'Malley using 'fuzzy math' in budget debate

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Gov.Martin O'Malleycame before a joint session of the General Assembly to give the annual State of the State address. Much like the State of the Union address by the president, this is an opportunity for the governor to present an unfiltered look at his agenda, and give a report on state government and its priorities.

I wish I could tell you that Gov. O'Malley gave an address recognizing the needs of Maryland's heavily burdened working families, small businesses and farmers.

I wish he would have proposed some kind of tax relief or offered an olive branch to Republicans, offering to work with us to make responsible reductions in spending.

Unfortunately, Gov. O'Malley did not do the above.

He led off his speech with a not-so-veiled shot at ...George W. Bush.

That's right. Apparently it's still Bush's fault.

He followed that up by asserting that we've made $7.5 billion in cuts to our state budget in the last five years.

Sadly, the governor is practicing "fuzzy math," to use a Bush expression. Our state's budget has grown by more than $5 billion since the 2007 special session on tax increases — which were supposed to fix the budget deficit back then.

Now, the governor is advocating all manner of tax and "fee" increases to help fix our budget gap and make further investments in our state's infrastructure and government bureaucracy. This is on top of more than a dozen fee or tax increases in last year's session.

The problem, as always, with the idea of raising taxes to fix deficits is that Maryland is already one of the highest tax states in the country and our budget has grown out of balance with the needs of our state.

I am ready to work with the governor to make the tough spending choices — and take the political hits that come with them.

Proposals to raise the gas tax and add sales tax to gasoline are going to hurt the very people that the extra spending is supposedly going to help: small business owners and poor and middle class taxpayers.

I am also interested in hearing directly from Carroll County residents with their ideas, questions, or concerns. Please feel free to contact me at 410-841-3070, or via email at justin.ready@house.state.md.us.

The author is a Republican state delegate representing District 5A in the Maryland General Assembly.

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