- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
2012 Session "Has To Be Judged A Failure"
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
This year’s General Assembly session is over, and WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says it has to be judged a failure.
Despite some notable achievements, the 188 legislators and Governor Martin O’Malley failed to complete work on a spending bill that would avoid deep cuts in public education and other priorities.
Fraser comments in his weekly essay.
Mike Miller, the Senate president, held the state budget hostage, hoping to win passage of a gambling expansion bill.
Mike Busch, the House Speaker, agreed to pass the gambling bill Miller wanted but couldn’t find the votes.
Governor O’Malley failed to intervene successfully.
These are among the explanations for what happened in Annapolis Monday night when the 90-day session ended in disarray.
It hardly matters which assertion is accurate. All three are probably part of the dismal chemistry.
A political body will, of course, encounter political difficulties.
But politics is always about problem solving, deal making, finding areas of compromise and settling for less than you were after.
It didn’t happen Monday night. As one of Baltimore’s senators said it was just embarrassing.
For those of us who rely on lawmakers to get their work done – those dwindling few who see government as necessary and for the most part admirable – the closing performance deeply weakened their case.
President Miller wants a slots operation in Prince Georges County.
The governor and Speaker Busch, neither of whom loves gambling, wanted a tax bill that would avoid $500 million in budget cuts.
Neither bill passed.
Without the tax bill, Maryland faced what many have called a “Doomsday” spending plan that leaves the municipalities facing enormous budget gaps.
Maybe it won’t be doom but it will be painful to manage.
Local governments and schools had go forward in the expectation that the agreed-upon tax bill would pass. Baltimore City Schools would have to cut $30 million.
Counties across the state will face similar losses. Senator Miller says it’s just a bump in the road. It’s probably not what most people in Maryland want as much as they dislike more taxes.
Responsible leaders will now try to frame a re-convening of the Assembly so that the tax bill can be passed without utter chaos as various extraneous issues come into play.
Given what we have just seen, don’t bet against chaos.
IN FOCUS TODAY
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 4:41am
More than 17,000 Baltimore students miss 20 or more days of school a year. Many of these...
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 4:37am
WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about changes to the horse racing industry in Maryland...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 7:00am
Attorney General Doug Gansler may run for governor in 2014, but he's moving toward a decision...