Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown have spent more than $172,000 in taxpayer’s funds for trips across the country and around the world. The two executives have spent 84 days out of state since taking office. O’Malley has used his travel time on political events, such as campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and attending an event for the Democrat Leadership Council in Nashville. The Governor has also traveled to Ireland twice, once to simply witness the presentation of an award to Dr. Robert C. Gallo from the University of Maryland. The Gallo trip came days before the special session of the Maryland General Assembly, convened by O’Malley to create 1.5 billion dollars in new taxes.
Lt. Governor Brown had the most expensive trip, a week long trade mission to China, costing taxpayers more than $96,000 dollars.
These trips are part of an elitist attitude that too many politicians possess while holding public office. There is a disregard for the cost to taxpayers and a disconnect to the economic hard times citizens are experiencing. With the cost of living exploding, gasoline, food, and electric prices reaching record-breaking highs and the imposition of an historic massive tax increase, one would think O’Malley and others would exercise fiscal restraint. The opposite seems to be true. The Governor recently provided his highly paid executive staff with multi-million dollar pay hikes. Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith and Mayor Sheila Dixon provided the same type of costly payroll gifts for their key people. None of these politicians display any sensitivity toward the plight of the overburdened taxpayer.
I believe it is time to take action to protect the forgotten taxpayer. An immediate moratorium should be declared prohibiting all government spending on pay raises for executive staffs and travel. Legislation should be considered that would compel all private trade trips and foreign travel be paid by the host and sponsoring party, including state police security costs. All political trips and expenses must be totally financed by the appropriate campaign organization.
Full disclosure and a “results report” should be required in relationship to the details of business and trade oriented trips. For example, Lt. Governor Brown’s week long trade mission to China should have been required to produce a written report outlining the contacts made, potential agreements, and economic benefits to the state of Maryland. Even negatives, such as the possibility of a Maryland company deciding to relocate its operation to China in order to take advantage of cheap labor should be reported.
The free-wheeling spending of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on travel, special events, and fat salaries for the big shots must come to an end. Elitist politicians who lack discipline or sensitivity must need to be restrained through the rule of law in order to protect the public.
For information, you may contact Delegate McDonough at his district office, 410-238-0025 or send an e-mail to Patmcdee@comcast.net.