Brown hints at more cuts and "revenue" measures in 2012

January 05, 2012|by Annie Linskey

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, standing in for Gov. Martin O'Malley at Maryland's annual pre-session conference, delivered a speech Thursday evening that was very, very short on specifics.

He shied away from even using the word "tax" in the 20 minute address, instead favoring that frequent synonym "revenue enhancements."

Brown even joked that his staff had scrubbed his speech to be sure that nobody could read his words an endorsement of one revenue enhancement or another.

Political watchers in the state are listening closely to administration officials for any hint of what they might propose on the gas tax, the sales tax and any other on the menu of potential increases. 

Brown did remind the audience that the administration plans a "balanced approach" which means  cuts to state government are coming too. 

Another thorny area Brown navigated was whether the administration plans to shift any of the pension costs from the state to the counties. "There are some concerns about teacher pensions," Brown said. The room quieted, with some hoping for a hint about the administration's intentions. 

But they got none. Brown lauded teachers as the "a backbone" of education; but at the same time pointed out that "the burden needs to be shared." 

What did that mean? Nobody knew, and Brown knew it.  "How is that for a comment on pensions," Brown quipped.

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