Cut Spending Now

Published February 7, 2009

Maryland is one of a few states taking a wait-and-see approach on the federal stimulus plan before putting its budget books in order (“Budget cuts held as state awaits stimulus,” Jan. 27). This is bad public policy for several reasons, regardless of the likelihood of $3 billion in federal stimulus money coming to Maryland.

The longer the state waits to take decisive action on tightening up its budget, the worse the deficit will become.

The state’s budget problems were not solved by the 2007 tax increases, and they will not be fixed by federal dollars.

The problem is more far-reaching and requires reform rather than a federal bailout. Not only should the state cut spending sooner rather than later, but legislators also should consider enacting sensible tax and expenditure limits. Doing so would give the state a more predictable and accountable budget.

Even with a flood of federal stimulus dollars, the spending habits of Gov. Martin O’Malley will cause an even worse budget problem to rear its ugly head next year and beyond.

John Nothdurft
The writer is a legislative specialist for the Heartland Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes free-market values.

This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Baltimore Sun.