Reckless spending leaves state budget facing sharp...


November 04, 2001

Reckless spending leaves state budget facing sharp shortfall

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has announced $205 million in budget cuts to address revenue shortfalls and increased expenditures in the state budget ("Geared for rocky times," editorial, Oct. 27). That is a good start.

But according to a nonpartisan report from the Department of Legislative Services, the state faces a budget deficit approaching $1 billion next year. In just two years, Maryland has gone from a billion-dollar surplus to a billion-dollar shortfall.

It is inaccurate to blame these fiscal problems on the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The present crisis has been seven years in the making, not seven weeks.

The warning signs of a weakening economy were flashing brightly in January. At that time, Republican legislators urged the Glendening-Townsend administration and budget leaders to display fiscal restraint because of the declining stock market and slowing economic indicators.

Instead, the governor signed a budget for this fiscal year that spent $907 million more than it collected - $557 million in precious reserve funds and another $385 million in surplus revenue were used to pay for this reckless state spending.

In addition, 5,300 state positions were added in the past two years at an annual cost of $200 million.

Many states faced declining revenues. However, even during last year's budget surplus a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) showed that no other state used more reserve funds than Maryland.

Recent state history demonstrates that large tax increases and painful service cuts will be needed if careful budget planning is not restored immediately.

J. Lowell Stoltzfus


The writer is minority leader of the Maryland Senate.

Glendening's maneuvers promote only himself

Thank you for the excellent editorial imploring Gov. Parris N. Glendening to withdraw his effort to become the chancellor of the university system of Maryland ("Glendening must quit chancellor search," Oct. 30).

Although Mr. Glendening professes to be a servant of the people, it appears that everything he does is for his benefit, personally or politically.

This effort to become chancellor seems in the same category as the very lucrative pension plan he enacted for himself before he left Prince George's County.

Don Pennington


The editorial states: "If Maryland seeks excellence in higher education, it can't look like a political clubhouse."

It should have read: "Because Maryland is a political clubhouse, elevation to another position exceeds excellence in higher education."

McNair Taylor


Make clear to teen-agers that violence isn't acceptable

The Justice Department study that finds teen-agers and those in their 20s are more vulnerable than older women to domestic violence ("Younger women assaulted more often," Oct. 29) further emphasizes the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August that found that one of every five teen-age girls reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

These reports illustrate that all of us have a lot of work to do to educate our children about healthy relationships.

Parents, teachers, health care professionals, victim advocates and law enforcement need to work together to send a clear message that coercive and violent behavior will not be tolerated.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann


The writer serves on the board of the Maryland Health Care Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Warmth of Smith Island offers light in dark times

Reading The Sun's article on saving Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay from erosion really touched me ("A high tide of gratitude," Oct. 29). From the kindness of the townspeople to the help from the workers, it felt really good to hear about something like this in a time like this.

While this may not be the biggest news story, or even much of a story, for people outside of Smith Island, the warmth of it is really overcoming.

Thanks to the community of Smith Island and the workers who helped with the public project; it really made my day.

Leor Galil


Help the Red Cross rebuild in Afghanistan

I am amazed that we have heard nothing about the U.S. government offering to replace the buildings of the International Red Cross in Afghanistan that we accidentally destroyed by bombing.

We should pay the Red Cross to replace those buildings. This is the right thing to do to maintain our self-respect.

P. David Wilson


Don't portray providers of abortions as victims

Those on the pro-life side cannot but be surprised when Ellen Goodman practically portrays abortion-providers as victims of persecution ("Now we know how they feel at clinics," Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 24). After all, it seems to us the forces of law (e.g., the Supreme Court), political correctness and "modern" mores are all arrayed on their side.

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