Just when things seemed to be quieting down in the State House, Gov. William Donald Schaefer has reignited his feud with the legislature by demanding that lawmakers come begging to him before he releases funds for specific grants, loans or projects in their districts. Otherwise, the governor threatens to keep such items off the Board of Public Works agenda, in effect impounding the funds.
To say that legislative leaders are boiling mad is putting it mildly. They point out, correctly, that all these projects had previously been approved by the General Assembly and simply need Board of Public Works assent to proceed. The governor, as chairman of the board, now claims the right to decide unilaterally what the board will consider.
Not only does this distort the state's budgeting process, it also turns the board's other members, Comptroller Louis Goldstein and Treasurer Lucille Maurer, into Schaefer puppets unable or unwilling to override his insistence that these capital projects be put in limbo until local legislators write to Mr. Schaefer informing him of their support.