Maryland has had progressive leadership — that's the problem

Larry Ottinger’s commentary, “What if Maryland had a progressive governor?” (April 9) would be laughable if not for the fact that the state has been living his dream for decades with economically disastrous results.

Baltimore City, for example, continues to shed people and jobs and for the last two years has seen some of the worst population loss in the nation. Homicides hit record levels last year and its public schools are losing children and failing those left behind, despite some of the highest per pupil spending in the nation. Would Mr. Ottinger blame the Republicans? Theodore McKeldin, who served as mayor of Baltimore from 1963 to 1967, was the last Republican to hold that office. Democrats have held a monopoly on City Council seats and governance since 1942.

Under Gov. Martin O’Malley, the state’s public schools enjoyed years of being ranked first nationally. But over half of students who went on to two-and four-year colleges needed remedial help in basic math and English. Disparities between white and minority students also expanded. Is that what Mr. Ottinger wants to mimic?

Lastly, Maryland, like high-tax New York and New Jersey, has been plagued by out-migration for over a decade, with newer residents earning less — and paying less in taxes. Could Governor O’Malley’s 40-plus tax hikes have something to do with it?

Maryland needs a governor and state legislators who strive to attract, retain businesses here and improve our economic competitiveness, not those who seek to milk those who are left. Perhaps the better question would be: “What if Maryland had a fiscally conservative governor and state legislature?” Crazier things have happened (“Larry Hogan: Closet Democrat?” April 10).

Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president and CEO of The Maryland Public Policy Institute.

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