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Budget solutions require compromise [Editorial]

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan is taking the right approach to potential budget shortfalls and fulfilling his campaign promise to roll back tax increases, saying it will take a bi-partisan effort in the legislature to achieve objectives.

State budget analysts last week handed the incoming governor news of a potential $593 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year and an additional shortfall the following year. One of Hogan's first duties after being sworn in will be to submit a budget to the legislature, and this week he said don't expect miracles.

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"It took us a long time to get into the mess we're in," Hogan told the Associated Press. "It can't be fixed in two days." Hogan was referring to the short period between when he's sworn in and when he must submit his first proposed budget.

Given the potential shortfall, it is a positive sign that Hogan is urging cooperation and compromise with Democrats who control the legislature.

"I'm sure there's going to be a give and take," Hogan told the Associated Press. "I really meant it when I said we're going to sit down and work across the aisle, but I believe we're going to convince some members of the other side of the aisle that we need to take some steps toward getting spending under control and reducing taxes."

Hogan has begun assembling his transition team, and it reflects the bi-partisanship that he says he wants. But he isn't saying where he expects to find money to close the budget gap and says a priority is still on rolling back some of the tax increases we endured under Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration.

Hogan's right. We didn't get in this situation overnight, and we aren't going to resolve all the issues in a couple days. In fact, a slower, more methodical approach is likely to achieve the best long-term results for residents and for the state.

Democrats and Republicans in the legislature should listen to what Hogan is saying about working together. That's the only way that we will be able to achieve positive results.

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