The Washington Times - August 22, 2008, 12:15PM

Maryland politics watchers should take a look at Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new campaign Web site — it’s revamped and rockin’ for the Democratic National Convention, and presumably a re-election run in 2010.

Interestingly, some of his budget numbers included on the Web site are revamped as well:

The devil here is in the unspoken calculations

From O’Malley’s Brochure:

Brochure - “Made a record $5.3 billion investment in public education spending and provided $741 million for school construction”

Analysis -

“Record” investments
- Every year the state government passes “record” increases in spending for everything from transportation to education, and, increasingly, mandated healthcare. So it be no shock to any budgeteer that education spending went up. Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. made “historic” increases in education spending every year he was in office.

What O’Malley does not include in this brochure are the sizable reductions he made in the increase of spending - or cuts, if you will - in state spending on education. O’Malley re-worked the famous Thornton formula which funds public education, to “cut” spending by more than $300 million.

School construction
- That school construction funding was spread out over two years - O’Malley’s first year in office, he included $400 million for school consruction. During his second year he included $341 million.

No governor in Maryland has ever spent $741 million in a single year on school construction, and, it is likely that the school construction committee which oversees  new school buildings would tell any governor who submitted a proposal that large to rethink their planning. Schools are built over many years through a planning process guided by the Interagency Committee on School Construction. The committee works with county school leaders to ensure their construction designs are adequate, and, as <a href=”http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/may/22/fight-for-school-funding-reveals-political-rifts/”>displayed earlier this year</a> some school boards come unprepared to spend the money given to them.

Check back here periodically for further analysis.

E-mail Tom LoBianco, Maryland political reporter, The Washington Times.

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