From Harford County government:
As Ronald Reagan commented at the beginning of his presidency, it is not the Republican Party’s “intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work – work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back.”
In his remarks to the press, Governor O’Malley lamented about the chilling impact this economy has had on revenues. While I share his concern, I am more deeply worried about the chilling effect on Maryland’s businesses and working families, should the General Assembly be tempted to seek additional taxes to support government spending.
Maryland’s efforts to stabilize its revenues must go beyond setting a tax rate to fostering an environment that rewards productivity, fosters innovation, and supports business growth. We need to look at Maryland businesses as our partners when it comes to growing our economy and putting Marylanders back to work; not as a piggy bank for sole purpose of funding government.
For too long, the Democratic leaders in Annapolis have looked at the budget as a zero-sum game, arguing that tax increases were the only alternative to draconian cuts to services. By ignoring Republican proposals, they failed to acknowledge that there could a third way focused on a thoughtful review of how government is doing business.
I was encouraged today to see small symbolic steps in the direction of realizing that there is room for consolidating and streamlining government without compromising the vital services our citizens have come to expect. Now that the Governor has indicated willingness to look at these types of solutions, I would encourage the General Assembly to work across the aisles of partisanship to find real solutions to how government conducts business in order to improve efficiency and economy.
The Governor also acknowledged that Maryland needs to address the solvency of its pensions. The Governor’s comments today are a starting point, focused only on one leg of the stool. Our leaders in Annapolis still need to engage in a serious conversation about the structural and governance issues facing our pension system. We will find ourselves in this position again, if our solution is not more than increasing the costs to both employees and taxpayers, or simply passing costs to counties.
This budget at this time underscores the need to change the paradigm on how government serves the people. We should not be afraid to undergo this evaluation, because after all we are a state that has a government and not the other way around. I firmly believe that Maryland’s future is bright, if government chooses to foster economic growth instead of adding to the burden of small businesses and working families.