State Overspending Has Put Maryland Taxpayers at the "Edge of a Cliff"
Governor Martin O'Malley's four years of fiscal management has placed the state budget on the "edge of a cliff." The guiding principle of O'Malley's budget policy has been robbing Peter to pay Paul. So strewn on the cliff behind him are the four years worth of one-time transfers, fund swaps and "found money."
Peering over the cliff, there is no longer any reserve funds left to tap. They have all been depleted. O'Malley has exhausted all available reserves except for the Rainy Day Fund. Tapping the Rainy Day could jeopardize the coveted Triple A bond rating which would cause great embarrassment to the O'Malley administration.
More perplexing from the vantage point at the "edge of the cliff" is the fact that there is no plan to reconcile future deficits. No foundation has been laid - no roadmap exists for eliminating the $8 billion of deficits that the next Governor will inherit. The O'Malley budget program has force a greater reliance on debt that will bankrupt future generations. Structural cuts have been shunned the last four years. True budget reform is obviously not in the O'Malley playbook. The only other options are a second round of massive tax increases (but only after Election Day) and/or a meteoric rise of state revenues from an miraculous economic rebirth (which no Maryland economist is predicting).
The next Governor and State Senators must have the resolve to restrain state spending so that spending does not exceed revenues. Only through strategic budgeting and focusing government on core government priorities can we succeed in a creating strong foundation for budget recovery and solve the "edge of the cliff" state fiscal crisis.