Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden and five of the seven county council members won election in 1990 with an anti-tax, anti-spending mandate from voters. Then the recession hit. Workers lost jobs, tax revenues dropped, funding for long-standing programs vanished. Meanwhile, the demand for social services rose. Drastic cuts in state aid brought Baltimore County and other staggering jurisdictions to their knees, as vital services including police and fire-fighting were curtailed.
In crafting their $1.15 billion county budget for fiscal 1993, which was passed yesterday by the council, Mr. Hayden and council members could have repaid their political debt to the anti-tax crowd by ignoring the many hardships felt by citizens and public agencies alike. The executive and the council could have gone the way of the county's Annapolis delegation, whose truculent stance against responsible tax hikes during the last legislative session left the county in bad standing with high state officials.
Instead, realizing that difficult times require unusual actions, Mr. Hayden and the council leadership bucked their backers and determined to work together in what is reported to be an unprecedented level of cooperation between the two branches of county government in Towson.