Throughout Maryland, county governments have begun to push back against the reckless fiscal policies of Governor Martin O’Malley. During Maryland’s first special session, this past summer, Marylanders saw their taxes once again increased and witnessed the state government passing the buck on teacher pension liabilities to the county governments. In addition, Gov. O’Malley has put into action a whole slew of new regulations on vehicles, rainwater run-off, and septic systems. With continuously diminishing authority over local government specific issues and even higher taxes, county officials are hoping to posture themselves in order to curb not only the authority of the governor, but also his wild fiscal irresponsibility with state funds.
According to a new Watchdog article, “Local governments have lost some $1.8 billion in state support since Fiscal Year 2010, affecting nearly every essential local service: roads and bridges; law enforcement; health departments; and jails.” If these state-financed projects are suffering, one must inquire where Maryland’s tax dollars are being directed. Clearly, Gov. O’Malley’s tax increases are not solving the problems faced by every Maryland resident.
If local resistance to Gov. O’Malley’s failed fiscal policies seems familiar, it is because it closely resembles Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s four year tenure as the Governor of Virginia. In his recent ad campaigns, Kaine claims that he did not raise taxes on Virginia residents. While no taxes were raised during his time as Virginia governor, the real reason behind that fact is because of continued Republican opposition to his annually proposed tax hikes. Every year, Gov. Kaine asked for $1 billion and each year he was denied.
The revolt of county governments in Maryland is a step forward in a state that each year takes many steps back. If they are successful, the county governments can hopefully curb the power of the Democrats in Annapolis and Gov. O’Malley, while also preventing more jobs and taxpayers from fleeing the state.