Gov. Martin O'Malley has signaled that it's time to replace the "steady diet of cuts" with a "balanced approach" to balancing the state's budget ("Taxes on the table in 2012," Aug. 21). He is right.

The $5 billion in cuts Maryland has already made have resulted in increased class sizes in the public schools, under-staffing of prison and parole operations and waiting lists for child-care assistance. These cutbacks not only put Marylanders at risk now, they disinvest in the institutions we need to build our economy back up in the future.

One of the reasons that Maryland retained its AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies while Standard and Poor's downgraded the national government is that Maryland has always taken the mature, responsible action needed to keep our finances in order and our economy strong.

Now, it's time to again grit our teeth and do the right thing.

Neil L. Bergsman, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute.