Cumberland Times-News

January 13, 2013

Stop stealing from small cities and towns


Cumberland Times-News

— As the Maryland General Assembly convenes for another session, many important issues have yet to be resolved.

One major issue is the restoration of funding to cities and towns in the state.

For the past several years, the governor has taken funding that is required by law to go to cities and towns as part of highway user shared revenue in order to fund other projects. This has left a large hole in the budgets of cities and towns.

This is unfair, unethical and perhaps one of the worst examples of leadership ever.

Taking from the backs of our cities and towns to boost pet projects in the Baltimore metropolitan area and saying he is increasing funding to schools, while cutting it to local funding of schools and causing closures.

I say, Gov. O’Malley, stop stealing our funds and claiming one thing while doing another. If you had not taken our funding, our citizens would not be facing the service cuts and tax increases that have been imposed in most cities because of the stolen funding.

I do not understand how you think it is OK to steal money from towns, close schools and yet find money to increase funding to other areas that were never cut in the larger populated areas.

As the president of the Allegany-Garrett Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League, I ask that our funds be restored, and not stolen again in this year’s budget.

The people who pay the taxes have a right to know what has been happening to the money that has long been promised to our communities and are tired of roads that are full of holes and being told the money is not there to fix them. We have cut, and maintained low tax rates so as to not hurt our citizens and even cut pay to ourselves in order to make sure our citizens are taken care of.

I say if you are stealing from us, Mr. Governor, you should work for free until all our funding is restored, and do away with your large staff, car fleets, security and other perks of the job, and what about your health insurance plan.

I ask you, do you think we have those things? Heck no, yet you continue to take our funds and maintain your king like status living in a taxpayer funded mansion, escorted in a large SUV with armed security. You are the governor, not the president.

Aren’t our children in western Maryland as important as those in the cities? Stop stealing our futures. With all due respect, we do not ask for an increase, just give us what we should have at 100 percent and stop stealing from the small cities and towns to make the large eastern cities happy.

On behalf of Western Maryland cities and towns,

Mayor Edward E. Clemons Jr., Luke

President, Allegany-Garrett Maryland Municipal League