Governor O’Malley unveiled his 2014 budget yesterday, which reveals his top priority for is the 2013 legislative session is the 2016 presidential primary. The Governor’s power point presentation is not a policy document, but rather a crass litany of his “accomplishments” over the years of his two terms, peppered with petulant pot shots at his predecessor, and what he dubbed “hara kiri” Congress. Very presidential!
If you’re looking for accurate data on spending and budget cuts in his presentation you won’t find it. So clever he thinks he is, he would have you believe he’s made historic budget cuts while simultaneously making record investments i.e., spending. What O'Malley calls a "balanced approach" isn't balanced at all, it's all tax hikes and spending increases hidden behind fictional cuts.
In the magical realm of “One Maryland” we can “eat cake and lose weight.”
For example, O’Malley repeats (as does most of the media) the debunked claim that he put the state budget on a “steady diet” of cuts, $8.3 billion over the last seven years, $325 million this year.
That’s true if you believe the in the Democratic definition of a cut, which is merely a reduction in planned spending increases. However, if you do the real math, O’Malley’s budget is $9 billion larger-- in real dollars--since he first took office. That is an increase of 31 percent.
O’Malley touts $325 million in cuts this year. However, if you look at the data (pg. 97), in his budget book, you will not find any general fund cuts. In fact, you will see a significant general fund spending increase of nearly $875,000 or 5.7 percent over last year.
Overall, O’Malley claims his administration has restrained general fund growth to two percent, compared to his predecessors. However, this claim holds true, only if you omit other operational spending, which he does. Accounting for all operational spending O’Malley has increased general fund spending by 14 percent. See Table 2 from the Department of Legislative Services website.
Of course, if you try to pin him down on the Grand Canyon sized discrepancy between the numbers and his rhetoric, as two reporters did last year, O’Malley becomes a pyromaniac in a field of straw men.
O’Malley’s 2014 budget is yet another shoddy façade of the Potemkin Village that is this fictional “One Maryland” he has created in order to burnish his credentials for 2016.