Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spending What they Shouldn't Have

The State of Maryland is looking at a $1.9 billion dollar budget deficit this year, so you would think that the General Assembly, in this current fiscal climate, is going to be looking at tightening the old belt a lot and making some spending cuts.

Well, if you think that, then you don't live in Maryland. Oh sure, I can pretty much count on increased taxes (which they won't call taxes, but rather will call them fees for everything form driver's license renewal fees, to Chesapeake clean up fees, etc.) I can also count on some budget chicanery to close the budget gap, like this one:
State officials are considering a $366 million budget fix that could spare difficult spending cuts by transferring money in an unused reserve fund kept by the Maryland comptroller's office.

The fund is maintained for accounting purposes and could go a long way to reducing a $1.9 billion shortfall that Gov. Martin O'Malley and state lawmakers must close to balance the next annual budget.

O'Malley, a Democrat, is considering various ways to pare the budget he will submit to the General Assembly that convenes next week.


The so-called local income tax reserve fund has been eyed during previous budget crises but has never been tapped. The money is set aside every year to show that the state can cover what it owes taxpayers for refunds. But the refunds are paid out of incoming tax receipts, and the reserve fund has never been used.

"Given the dire fiscal situation and given that this would have no negative impact on operations or what happens for taxpayers, we felt this is an option we would bring to the attention of the administration to help," said Joseph Shapiro, a spokesman for Comptroller Peter Franchot.

O'Malley officials said they discovered the "excess" funds in their search for cost savings.
So let me get this clear in my mind, the Comptroller keeps a fund from which the state can pay income tax refunds, but tax refunds are paid from incoming taxes, so the fund has never been used. So a fund that has I presume much more than $360 million sitting in it, has been sitting around for so long that THEY ONLY FOUND IT WHEN THEY WENT LOOKING FOR COST SAVINGS!!!!!!!

We are not talking about a couple of hundred thousands of dollars sitting in a savings account for the state, but a sum that amounts to almost 20% of the budget shortfall and they just stumbled on it?

Why is the money sitting in this fund anyway? Why wasn't it, you know, returned to its rightful owners, the taxpayers?

The audacity of the Maryland Democrats is phenomenal.

Maryland Comptroller has maintained a billion

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