Even though it is an exercise in futility — because they are vastly outnumbered — Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly do Marylanders a public service by offering their own budget ideas each year.
This year, House Republicans are proposing that the state use a “zero growth” budget that would require the governor to cut two percent from his budget request.
That will never happen, of course, because Maryland leaders opt for budget increases year in and year out. But give the Republicans credit for trying to stop the increases and force state officials and agencies to live within existing budgets.
There are 141 members of the House of Delegates and 98 are Democrats. In the Senate, 35 of the 47 senators are Democrats. With those numbers, there is no way the GOP will muster enough votes to curb government spending.
Year after year, the Republican delegates on the House Appropriations Committee offer an alternative budget plan that relies on cuts rather than taxes. Some of their proposals get accepted by the Democratic majority, but most are not.
Del. Tony McConkey, R-Anne Arundel, said Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget “leaves us too exposed” to the impact of federal sequestration. “The economy is still not out of the woods.” Del. Addie Eckardt, R-Talbot, said, “Government spending way out paces income growth.”
Rather than suggest specific cuts and be accused of micro-managing, the GOP this year is proposing that the O’Malley administration, not the legislature, decide where the two percent comes would occur.
Like every other year, expect O’Malley and the Democrats to block the GOP proposal and authorize more spending in the year ahead.