O'Malley has made tough choices on budget

In reference to your article called "Talk of Budget Cuts Escalates" (March 13) I feel the need to respond and clarify some points:

Gov. Martin O'Malley had responded strongly and courageously. His Administration has made more than $5.5 billion in cuts and streamlined state government by eliminating 3,500 positions while protecting core priorities such as K-12 public schools, higher education and the environment.

The governor understands that even though the state is in tough fiscal times, it must continue to make the much needed investments that help working Maryland families, create jobs and protect our state's many resources. That is the reason the Governor has acted prudently and ensured that state spending this year is lower than it was four years ago. Maryland's responsible leadership has been recognized nationally as our state's triple-A bond rating is affirmed.

His predecessor, Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., massively increased state spending and saddled the government with billions in projected deficits. The Republican budget plan calls for severe cuts in education and transferring the budget burden to counties and municipalities. That is irresponsible and shameful policy.

If the General Assembly wants to reduce spending and protect the interests of working Maryland families, they should vote for governor's proposed budget.

Helene Scharf, Catonsville

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