The following letter was received from the office of Delegate Wayne Norman:
Our state is in a dire fiscal situation. That is the only way to describe our current budgetary shortfalls. The economy has hurt everyone, but the state doesn’t have a recession problem so much as a spending problem. The FY2010 budget allocated over 32 billion dollars for state programs; in FY2008 Maryland’s revenues came in under 18 1/2 billion dollars.
The state cannot expect a sudden revenue boom; just weeks after the record setting high-dollar budget passed, Governor O’Malley was forced to make millions of dollars in one-time cuts. Our state workers were put on furloughs, and services to Maryland citizens were decreased, halted, or canceled.
Now the Governor’s Salary Commission has recommended pay hikes for the leaders implementing cuts. The governor’s pay is to increase $10,000 to $160,000, in addition to the governor’s free mansion, a $100,000 state entertainment budget, and SUVs with State Police drivers and protection, among other office perks. The lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, and the state treasurer are also recommended to get raises. As if that weren’t enough, there is another proposal to raise the salaries—and pensions—of all 188 legislators.
These proposals show the poor leadership and fiscal policy that continually gets Annapolis into these problems. As a business owner, I pay my employees before I get a paycheck. If I furloughed an employee and gave myself a bonus, I would soon be working alone. This is the common-sense fiscal approach that I take to Annapolis as the 2010 session begins next month.
I pledge to oppose any pay raise proposals this session, and I pledge to argue for a return to fiscal prudence in Maryland. As you finish your Christmas shopping this season, remember that those extra tax dollars will be allocated over the next 90 days in the state budget. After you shop for your loved ones and drop off a little donation to the Salvation Army bell-ringers, make sure the voice of reason is heard in Annapolis.