December 28, 2008

Governor's choices add to budget woes

Gov. Martin O'Malley is showing that he is not capable of leading the state of Maryland during a recession ("Budget blues," editorial, Dec. 21).

First, he holds a special legislative session to raise taxes and get slots approved to prevent a budget disaster, but new spending in the same special session cancels out some of the revenue gains. Then he furloughs state employees to save roughly $34 million. Now he proposes to cut education by $38 million ("State may cut $38 million to local school districts," Dec. 20). But while all this is happening, he also wants to spend $71 million to preserve additional open space ("State plans to preserve 9,200 acres," Dec. 4).

Mr. O'Malley wants to buy more land, yet he is proposing to sell the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills to developers at a price far below its market value. Why not put the land in Owings Mills into open space preservation, since the state already owns it, and use the $71 million in proposed new land spending to avoid cuts to education funding?

Even though the money for open space is dedicated funding, the General Assembly could pass legislation to change such regulations and allow this money to be used to safeguard education funding.

Mr. O'Malley and his friends in the General Assembly ran for office on the promise of lowering our electric bills, protecting and improving education and leading Maryland into the 21st century.

From what I have seen so far, he has failed on every promise, and he continues to show that he was not ready for the job.

William Winner, Hampstead

Why single out judges for untimely pay hike?

What makes judges so much more valuable than any other state employee charged with important work ("Panel recommends pay raises for state judges," Dec. 24)?

Like all state employees, judges knew they were sacrificing the pay they might make in the private sector to work for the government. The idea that the state needs to increase their salaries in order to retain them, even while other state employees are being furloughed or laid off, is offensive.

As many people say about state employees in general, if the judges want the pay offered by the private sector, let them go work in the private sector.

Michael Calo, Glen Burnie

The writer is a retired state employee.

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