By Len Lazarick and Megan Poinski
The members of the General Assembly passed a $35.6 billion balanced budget as they were required to do by midnight Monday. But without the income tax hike they failed to enact, it is the doomsday budget that contains $512 million in additional cuts, much of it to education.
A clearly angry Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters the General Assembly failed to protect the priorities that state voters expected them to do. But in a brief press conference, he did not announce he would call a special session, as the Senate and House leaders expect him to do.
“There was 90 days to work all this out,” O’Malley said as he walked away.
(Video by Dan Menefee)
O’Malley, Busch blame Miller and gaming
O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch both blamed Senate President Mike Miller’s insistence on a gaming measure for Prince George’s County for holding up action. But others, including delegates and senators on the conference committee, said the hard philosophical positions on both sides played a role.
“I feel terrible about [the session],” Busch told reporters.
The gaming bill, which passed the House Ways and Means Committee Monday afternoon, never came to the House floor.
The House never brought up the tax hike that the House and Senate negotiators agreed to around 8 p.m. An unhappy group of senators had given into adamant delegates over the form of income tax hikes.
The House version raised less money than the Senate, increasing rates by .25% on individuals making more than $100,000 and lowering their exemptions.
“We certainly have changed our position … for the sake of averting difficult cuts,” said Senate Budget and Taxation Chairman Ed Kasemeyer. “It is a somber moment for us. … We’re not real happy.”
The revenue package was on the Senate floor as the clock struck midnight. But there was none of the balloons and confetti that usually marks the end of session in both houses.
“We did the best we could,” Miller said. He admitted that there would be many constituents that would be happy about the drastic budget cuts.
Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin said, “We’ve done what we needed to do. Let’s go home.”
The cuts include over $200 million to K-12 education and $63 million to colleges and universities. State employees would not get a 2% cost of living increase ($33 million) and agency operating expenses would be cut 8%.
House tries to extend session
Maneuvers to extend the session at the last minute – including a vote in the House of Delegates about 15 minutes before midnight to keep the session going for five more days – were not successful.
As the clock turned to 11:59 p.m., Speaker of the House Michael Busch realized that adjourning the session was inevitable and left the session on an unfinished note.
“If the governor does not call you to a special session, we stand where we are,” Busch said slowly from the podium.
The budget had been at a stalemate for more than a week, with slow and excruciating negotiations to try to come to an agreement on the right mix of tax increases and exemption cuts to increase revenues.
House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, explained that the extension would be necessary for the General Assembly to have a “sensibly balanced budget.”
The uncertain conclusion to the session seemed to be the logical finish following a week of finger pointing and blame for dragging out the process.
“It’s pretty evident that our counterparts in the Senate slow-played the revenues and the budget so they were not available to be voted on,” Busch said moments after adjournment.
Busch said that he would talk to Gov. Martin O’Malley about the possibility of calling the General Assembly back to a special session, though not necessarily right away.
By reverting to the “doomsday budget,” O’Malley said that the General Assembly ended up making some of the largest cuts to education funding in years. Instead of focusing on what the people of the state wanted, he said that they put those priorities aside.
“Our republic was not built on gambling gimmicks, bingo games or bake sales,” O’Malley said. “If we want a better state for our kids, we have to come together and protect our achievements.”
O’Donnell blames Democratic leaders
House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell blamed O’Malley and the Democratic leaders.
“We screwed around on same sex marriage forever, and we delayed, and we messed around, and then we got the governor floating a new tax idea every other day,” O’Donnell said. “O’Malley failed to provide leadership. It shows how the Democratic majority and the administration have mismanaged this state right into the ground.”
“This is really uncharted territory,” O’Donnell said. “We have a budget with contingent cuts that will go into effect, which means there will be a lot less spending right now than was originally proposed by the governor and the General Assembly.”
Although O’Donnell had repeatedly called to rein in spending during the session he said he was not happy that the “Doomsday Budget” was triggered by a failure to pass the administration’s budget.
“The House Speaker and the Senate President couldn’t get along and they didn’t run these bodies and these chambers to get the work done, it’s unfortunate and indicative of the fact that this place has been mismanaged for a long time, and tonight we saw the ultimate manifestation.”
Daniel Menefee contributed to this report
A bizarre incident took place during the 60 Minutes interview
with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on New Year’s Day: When
Leslie Stahl asked Rep. Cantor whether he would be willing to compromise
with President Barack Obama to improve the legislative performance of
the current Congress, Rep. Cantor responded: “Compromising principles,
you don’t want to ask anybody to do that. That’s who they are as their
When Stahl replied that President Ronald Reagan, Rep. Cantor’s
“idol,” had compromised, Rep. Cantor stuck to his guns, replying, “He
never compromised his principles.”
Stahl, at the ready, answered, “Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.”
Rep. Cantor, slightly flummoxed, came back with “Well, he — he also cut taxes.”
And here things got interesting.
Rep. Cantor’s press secretary, Brad Dayspring, began yelling from off
screen, “That’s not true. And I don’t want to let that stand.”
Stahl, in a taped voice-over, later added in the mildest language
imaginable, and without any personal aspersions cast — “There seemed to
be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan
cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one
in 1982 during a recession.”
President Reagan’s voice was then heard to say, “Make no mistake
about it, this whole package is a compromise,” followed by Rep. Cantor,
doubling down, “We as Republicans are not going to support tax
The interview has generated a great deal of attention in the
blogosphere. ThinkProgress jumped on it immediately, noting that
President Reagan did not “compromise” just this once, but actually
increased taxes “in seven of his eight years in office, including one
stretch of four tax increases in just two years.”
The site quoted the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman, noting
that “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many
The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen pitched in with his
observation that the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982,
which was Reagan’s biggest tax hike, is today “generally considered the
largest tax increase — as a percentage of the economy — in modern
Moreover, says Benen, “between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes
four times, and as Bruce Bartlett has explained more than once, Reagan
raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.”
Benen believes that President Reagan’s legacy makes contemporary conservatives “look ridiculous.”
On MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Washington Post columnist Ezra
Klein took a stab at explaining why this must be the case, noting that
the grand poobah behind the “Reagan Legacy Project,” and so much
right-wing political thinking and organizing today, is Grover Norquist,
who “has a vested interest in promoting the myth of ‘Saint Ronnie the
Tax Slayer’ to justify his ‘no new taxes ever’ ideology.”
This is true, but it misses what is really strangest about this incident.
It is actually unheard of for a press secretary to attempt anything
like Dayspring’s interruption, especially in so high profile a forum as 60 Minutes
and with a boss in as influential a position as Rep. Cantor. (It is
especially crazy to do so in one in which the editing process allows the
correspondent to have the last word.) To do so with a bald (and easily
demonstrable) falsehood would be under almost any imaginable
circumstances a firing offense, as it makes both men, politician and
aide alike, appear uninformed, incompetent, and generally out to lunch.
Rep. Cantor’s office did attempt to “clarify” Mr. Dayspring’s
outburst, insisting that it “referred to the cumulative effect of
President Reagan’s various tax increases and cuts, when added together.”
Again, this is not the point. President Obama has lowered taxes more
than he has raised them, and they are today lower than they were in
President Reagan’s time. But you don’t hear conservatives crowing about
No, the real story here is the vehemence of the conservative
movement’s commitment to ignoring all forms of evidence that it finds
inconsistent with its ideological preconceptions, regardless of
circumstances or even consequences.
Ironically, tendency to ignore inconvenient facts and unwelcome
evidence is actually President Reagan’s true legacy, as I noted in The Nation back in 2000, before the current right-wing mania for President Reagan gained its full force.
The 1982 tax increase Norquist is excusing was the largest peacetime tax
increase in American history, and calling it the “biggest mistake” of
the Reagan presidency requires ignoring the fact that it was immediately
followed by “exceptionally strong”
economic growth and falling unemployment. And if the 1982 increase was
Reagan’s biggest mistake, he didn’t show much contrition during the rest
of his presidency — he went on to raise taxes in seven of his eight years in office.
We cannot become a fascist republican regime like all of the red states who are on federal welfare. If republican policies work so well, why are all of those red states broke? Fascist republican policies do not work…at all. Reagan raised taxes 12 times. Fascists will ever, ever, EVER type this in one of the blog comments. It would admit that they are wrong. The article clearly states that the survey that was done by Marylanders, wanted tax hikes. I know cuz I filled one out. No one should be happy with this. The worst part is that when a special session is called, it will be charged to Maryland tax payers. When this “idiot” is no longer governor; Brown will take his place. There is no fascist republican party in Maryland, especially since unbelievably corrupt Ehrlich lost twice…even in a “fascist republican tsunami 2012 year!!!” If fascists couldn’t win in Maryland in 2010, they ain’t gonna win.
We cannot become a fascist republican regime like all of the red states
who are on federal welfare. If republican policies work so well, why
are all of those red states broke? Fascist republican policies do not
work…at all. Reagan raised taxes 12 times. Fascists will ever, ever,
EVER type this in one of the blog comments. It would admit that they
are wrong. The article clearly states that the survey that was done by
Marylanders, wanted tax hikes. I know cuz I filled one out. No one
should be happy with this. The worst part is that when a special
session is called, it will be charged to Maryland tax payers. When this
“idiot” is no longer governor; Brown will take his place. There is no
fascist republican party in Maryland, especially since unbelievably
corrupt Ehrlich lost twice…even in a “fascist republican tsunami 2012
year!!!” If fascists couldn’t win in Maryland in 2010, they ain’t gonna
A special session will be called. These cuts are a travesty to this Union state. We cannot afford a fascist republican regime that tells us what to do and how to robotically act. When O’Malley leaves, Brown will take his place. Maryland is and always will be a Democratic state. Thank God. We cannot handle the types of policies that have decimated the red states. All of them are broke and beg for fed tax money. These cuts will be balanced with what the MAJORITY of Marylanders want….which was tax hikes against the rich. Democrats are irritating the voters who put them in office and if they don’t call a special session, to fix this ridiculous Doomsday Budget, there will be hell to pay The fascists will be forced to come back to session and negotiate. Get ready because it’s clearly not over. Anyone that thinks it is, is stupid and crazy.
By Harold Meyerson, Published: May 17, 2011
Okay. Just for the hell of it,
let’s go after the debt and the deficit the Republican way. No new
taxes. All through cutbacks. And I’ll confine my quibbles to a few
To begin, then: We’re broke! We can’t afford any more taxes!
(Well, America’s 400 wealthiest taxpayers certainly can. In 1955,
according to the Campaign for America’s Future,
the country’s 400 wealthiest taxpayers had an average income of $13.3
million (in 2008 dollars) and paid 51.2 percent of that in federal
income taxes. In 2008, according to IRS calculations,
they had an average income of $270.5 million and paid 18 percent of
that in federal income taxes. And in 1955, by the way, we could afford
to pave roads.)
Republicans’ concern over the growth of government is moral as well as fiscal. To quote the House Republican “road map” that accompanied the release of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget,
“Americans were known and admired everywhere for their hopeful
determination to assume responsibility for the quality of their own
lives; to rely on their own work and initiative. .?.?. But over time, Americans have been lured into viewing government .?.?. as
their main source of support; they have been drawn toward depending on
the public sector for growing shares of their material and personal
well-being. The trend drains individual initiative and personal
To remedy this, House Republicans passed a budget
that chiefly increases the opportunities for initiative and
responsibility available to seniors by reducing their dependence on
Medicare and Medicaid (which devotes two-thirds of its funding to
nursing-home care). By converting Medicare from a guarantee of payment
for medical care to a voucher to purchase insurance, the Congressional Budget Office calculated, the share of medical bills that seniors would have to pay themselves would rise from 25 percent to 68 percent.
are right to aim big if they mean to reduce the deficit through cuts
alone. By most measures, seniors are the major spongers on taxpayers,
chiefly through their insistence on not working productively once they
hit 65, 78, 92 or whatever. But for the sake of argument, suppose we
don’t want to put that burden on our mothers, fathers, grandparents and
ourselves. Where else can we identify a comparably large group of
drainers of the public till?
Happily, the Tax Foundation — a conservative Washington-based think tank — has, however unintentionally, provided the answer. In 2007, the foundation published a survey
of 2005 federal spending in each state and compared that with each
state’s contribution in federal taxes. In other words, the foundation
identified the states that sponge off the federal government and those
that subsidize it. The welfare-queen states and the responsible,
producing states, as it were.
The list, alas, hasn’t been updated —
in part, no doubt, because conservatives didn’t like what it revealed:
that those states that got more back from our government than they paid
in were overwhelmingly Republican. The 10 biggest net recipients of
taxpayers’ largess were, in order, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alaska,
Louisiana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, South Dakota, Kentucky
and Virginia. The 10 states that paid in the most and got back the least
were New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota,
Illinois, Delaware, California, New York and Colorado.
list has surely changed since the middle of the last decade — Virginia
has probably gotten richer and paid in more; Nevada has surely gotten
poorer and paid in less. But today’s ranking are probably much the same,
unless farming and manufacturing suddenly pay more than finance and
high-tech. Even allowing for cyclical variations and political
transformations, it’s patently clear that the states that drain the
government also constitute the Republicans’ electoral base, while those
that produce the wealth constitute the Democrats’. Far from
strengthening our moral character, the red states plunge us into the
slough of dependency.
If we’re really serious, then, about
reducing the deficit entirely through cutbacks, the solution is clear:
Cut off these slacker states. As we can’t very well expect them to
support legislating an end to their slothful dependence on our
sugar-daddy subsidies, the only real solution is to reduce them to
vassal status, strip them of their congressional and electoral college
representation, and compel them to pay what they owe America’s producing
class. If need be — we can’t just go on passing the debt to the next
generation — by force.
Take taxes off the table and it’s either
the South (and kindred sponger states) or the seniors. I say, the South.
It’s time for bold choices. What don’t you understand? We’re broke!
There is nothing at all wrong with
assessing the amount of Federal tax dollars coming from states, compared
to the amount of Federal tax dollars going into them. The fact that you
don’t like what you hear is irrelevant.
its about time that the taxes arent raised in this Republic of Maryland! Cant wait until that idiot is no longer govenor.
And to think that this man wants to lead the country and live in the White House when he can’t take care of his own home. The first rule of thumb is learn to balance your check book.
Oh yeah thats right….same sex marriage takes priority over the education needs of students.
Cuts? The doomsday budget is $400 million more than last year’s budget.
So we pandered to a portion of the citizenry to feel good because it couldn’t wait until next year, or later in the session. This is the height of the instant gratification society, everything has to happen now, not in 5 minutes, not next week, RIGHT NOW. Guess what, now this state is deeper in the hole because or elected “representatives” can’t prioritize tasks nor balance a checkbook.
Instant gratification is living a lifetime through DOMA and DADT and now only starting to get some semblance of marriage rights in a few states? Also, it could have taken less time if people simply didn’t oppose it.
There’s also an economic argument to be made here. More gay weddings means more profits for wedding businesses (caterers, hotels, restaurants, locations, bed and breakfasts, etc). http://www.gazette.net/article/20120302/NEWS/703029622/maryland-s-wedding-industry-embraces-same-sex-marriage&template=gazette In these times, just as you say, we need to prioritize what can help us balance a checkbook. All that income generated will be taxed and put towards the budget.
Mandatory cuts? I say, “Yahoooooo!!!!!”
The superb handling of yet another MD state budget demonstrates the message so often uttered by taxpayers-TERM LIMITS. The Miller-O’Malley-Busch triumvirate has proven to be a total bust again. Instead of doing the people’s business reining in spending, these august leaders for a second year, expended their limited energies on social issues, windmills & creating a new income class, the high earner group. Now we’re faced with a special session, that will cost us millions, to finish extracting more taxpayer $$ to pay for budget increases while these leaders play the blame game.
The culture of corruption is alive & doing well on the Severn. I’ll be thinking of them with every flush!
We already have “TERM LIMITS” …It’s called voting…But, to carry that out, a politically aware, knowledgeable, electorate is needed, instead of the seemingly apathetic and lazy voters we have… Just look at how much of the electorate votes in elections…It’s shameful !
I keep on thinking of the phrase ” Representative Government ” and wonder if the Delegates and Senators are a true reflection of their constituents ?
This goes for the US Congress & Senate as well !
Again with the cutting of education and workers.
And once again, the illegals are safe, the welfare queens are safe etc… Find the money to cut in social services, if someone is going to be hurt by losing income suddenly, Should it be a teacher or a policeman or fireman? people that produce and help forward our state, or should it be someone that collects taxpayer money and gives nothing in return.
CUT THE ILLEGALS AND THEN MOVE ONTO WELFARE FIRST
I agree with your sentiments mostly, but there’s one thing that needs to be clarified… The hiring of police & fire personnel and the hiring of teachers are done at the local level, based on county or city budgets. My wife is a volunteer firefighter/EMT ( Howard County ) and part of the volunteer fire department funding comes from a “fire tax” on home and business owners and fundraising, along with what the county funds.
This may not be the case in other counties…
The fire, police, and teachers are always “trotted out” when fiscal prudence is mentioned to shame us because we taxpayers/ subjects” dare to think that we should keep more of our money !
As for teachers…One should look at the number of “administrators” per teacher and the palatial school board buildings…
I DON’T WANT to continue that type of spending !
So you want the tax hikes, when it serves your wife? Pathetic. Hypocritical. Predictable fascist.
I don’t see why anyone is surprised. This state is perfect example of how the “tax and spend” mentality is an utter failure. The government wants to “provide” all of these “essential” services to “those in need.” And in order to pay for these services, the “more fortunate” among us are supposed to help out more by footing the bill. In case you haven’t realized, $150k in Maryland isn’t a whole lot!
Just a thought, what happens when taxing these high $150,000 couples & the millionaires doesn’t generate enough revenue? We all know. They will move down the food chain to feed the nanny state beast adding even more taxes, tolls & fees unless they are defeated at the ballot box.
Your statements are correct ! As for generating revenue…What would happen if the $ 150,000/yr. couples and millionaires leave the state ?
There aren’t that many of them left here… Not with this “hope & change” economy and a state government full of over-fed, pampered, morons !
The possible good news is that the State employees who make $ 100,000 & up will have to “pay up”…Or will they ?
Appearing on the CBS News program 60 Minutes on Sunday
night, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) experienced an awkward
moment when he was challenged to admit that his hero, President Ronald
Reagan, did in fact raise taxes.
Cantor was speaking with interviewer Lesley Stahl, who asked if he
was ready to start compromising with Democrats on taxes. Cantor said he
was indeed “ready to cooperate,” but then hedged his response.
“But what’s the difference between compromise and cooperate?” Stahl asked.
would say cooperate is ‘Let’s look to where we can move things forward
to where we agree,” Cantor said. “Compromising principles, you don’t
want to ask anybody to do that. That’s who they are as their core
Stahl then mentioned to Cantor how his “idol” Reagan compromised his
principles by raising taxes during his presidency. Cantor tried to
deflect the focus by mentioning that Reagan cut taxes, but Stahl
reiterated her point.
Upset at the reporter, Cantor’s press secretary yelled off camera, “That’s not true, and I don’t want to let that stand.”
No matter if Cantor, his staff or conservatives at-large want to deny
that Reagan raised taxes, what Stahl said is completely true.
After his huge tax cut in 1981 slashed all tax rates to 23 percent,
sparking a budget crisis, Reagan realized he’d also have to raise taxes
in the years that followed. He raised taxes four times between 1982 to
1984, increasing the payroll tax,
broadening the base of Social Security payees, applying the income tax
to higher earners and rolling back corporate and individual tax breaks.
Reagan’s historic tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, whose rate
went from 70 percent to 28 percent during his administration, ultimately
forced the president to raise taxes on more people than any other U.S. president during a time of peace, according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
In total, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his two terms in office.
Mixing apples & oranges. As one who has lived through 9 different fed admin, my independent status says it all. Consistently increasing the spending results in the need for higher revenues. MD can’t print money to cover the Dem controlled legislature’s largess as the feds can. Additionally, MD is raising spending on an annual basis at least $1B a year, disregarding the declining economy; the drop in tax receipts collected; & the burden of taxes, fees & tolls already increased to fill past years budget deficits. A temporary rollback, say to 2008 levels, should be considered. Once the economy improves, restoring cuts can be considered. A common sense approach most taxpayers would agree with. Hanging the “doomsday” mantra on this budget is just more populist hype to scare the sheeple who voted these big spenders into office.
Just a thought, why is it that all of the red states that are dominated by a fascist governor and a fascist legislature for decades….and they are broke and their constituents are furious? Texas has a massive deficit of $36 Billion!!! Every red state has massive deficits…and they have not raised taxes!!! However, when the fires and droughts hit, Gov. Perry sent a “private” memo to Obama BEGGING FOR FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS FOR HIS RICH STATE RANKED #1 (AS THE RICHEST STATE IN THE NATION). Why is Texas and the rest of the red states broke? Why did Reagan raise taxes after his “Trickle Down Economics Fail”?
FASCIST POLICIES DON’T WORK.
“We screwed around on same sex marriage forever”
That’s a funny way to say “worked diligently on important legislation to secure equal rights for a significant portion of our citizenry”.
Oh that’s right, you voted against that. http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/house/0114.htm
Obviously Governor O’Malley has NOT been listening to the people of the state, I think less taxes and less spending during these times are what the citizens want. The governor must have been listening to the special interest groups who are funding his political career.
If that is so (BIG IF) then the people of the state should reconsider their position.
As Maryland citizens, If O’Malley runs for President in 2016, we have an obligation to the rest of the country to put as much effort as we can into making sure they know what he did to Maryland, we have to do our part to make sure he is never allowed to hold a public office again.