GOP attacks Glendening's spending plan

January 31, 2002|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Republican state delegates charged yesterday that Gov. Parris N. Glendening's budget has so many problems that it should be rejected out of hand and sent back to him for reworking.

"The budget is masterful in its deceit, and it violates the spirit of the constitution that requires a balanced budget," said Del. Alfred W. Redmer Jr., a Baltimore County Republican and House minority leader. "Let's send it back and get it right the first time."

The Republican caucus members said that they would seek to exercise an obscure parliamentary rule to bring a bill directly out of committee and to a vote of the full House. In Maryland, the governor proposes state budgets and the legislature can reject it entirely or cut parts of it, but not add to it.

"The budget is inadequate to begin with, and we are not going to idly sit by," said Del. Robert L. Flanagan, a Howard County Republican and a member of the Appropriations Committee. "This will send a message to the governor ... that he needs to rework the budget and refile a new one."

Glendening's $22.2 billion spending plan for next year calls for a delay in the final 2 percent of a phased-in, 10 percent state income tax cut, would draw heavily on reserves and seeks to make a lower-than-required contribution to the state's retirement fund.

The plan has been criticized by legislators from both parties since its introduction - particularly for the tax-cut delay - but the parliamentary maneuver is given little chance of success. Democrats outnumber Republicans 106 to 31 in the House, and a majority vote is required to pull a bill out of committee for a full-floor vote.

"I have to conclude that we're dealing in some very, very unusual election-year partisan rhetoric," said House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. "In the 28 years I've been here, I have never had it suggested that the legislature would reject its constitutional responsibility ... to deal with the budget."

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