- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2013

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is a miracle worker. At least, that’s what he told the crowd gathered Thursday in Washington at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“We have cut more spending than ever before in our state’s history,” the Democratic chief executive told the fawning crowd. “And we have also invested more in public education, innovation and infrastructure than ever before.”

That’s quite a trick. Mr. O’Malley claims he has cut more spending while at the same time investing (i.e., spending) more than ever. Actual budget numbers show spending assertion is certainly true. At $9 billion, outlays in Annapolis rose 30 percent on the former Baltimore mayor’s watch.

So, Maryland’s state government is growing at a rapid pace, but the situation isn’t quite as rosy for businesses in the area. The group Change Maryland counts 6,500 small firms that have either closed up shop or fled the Free State in the past few years. There are just four Fortune 500 companies left that call Maryland home. For those keeping score, that’s one-fifth the number of corporate giants headquartered in either Virginia or Pennsylvania.

It would be foolish to set up a new business in the Free State. Change Maryland calculated the cumulative tax impact of the O’Malley years has been about $9.5 billion. That figure will soon double, thanks to a new wholesale gasoline tax that will add 44 cents to each gallon sold, when fully implemented. “Nobody expected the total impact to be this staggering, not even me,” Change Maryland founder Larry Hogan told the Star Democrat newspaper of Easton, Md. “Struggling Maryland families and small businesses simply cannot afford another four years of an O’Malley-Brown tax-and-spend binge.” Thanks to term limits, Mr. O’Malley will be moving on, and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown wants the top job, so Marylanders shouldn’t expect relief anytime soon.

Mr. O’Malley obviously has his eyes on the White House in 2016, a hope bolstered by the falling fortunes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the top contenders recently brought low by the Benghazi scandal. To polish his credentials further, the governor crowed to the assembled D.C. liberals about how Education Week magazine ranked Maryland’s public schools as the best in the nation for the fifth year in a row. Parents know better than that. In Montgomery County, high school math performance has been dismal. Media reports indicate 62 percent of students taking the geometry final exam and 57 percent of those taking the algebra 2 final didn’t pass.

What success Maryland has had hasn’t been a result of Mr. O’Malley’s stewardship; it’s the result of a post-Sept. 11 federal spending binge, which was juiced by the Obama administration’s trillion-dollar stimulus. Eventually, that federal largesse will shrink, and Mr. O’Malley’s legacy will shrivel along with it. Instead of a tax magician capable of cutting and increasing spending simultaneously, he’ll be seen as the tax-and-spend huckster he truly is.

The Washington Times

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