Wednesday, January 31, 2007

 

More State of the State: A Profile in Courage

The biggest drag on Maryland during Bob Ehrlich’s four years in office was Martin O’Malley’s Baltimore. There wasn’t an easier act in all of Maryland politics than to follow Kurt Schmoke and yet somehow Martin O’Malley still managed to underwhelm. He spent his entire time as Mayor running for Governor. I predict his time as our Governor will be marked by a similar effort to attract attention for a spot on a National ticket.

However, this may actually work to our advantage as his unwillingness to risk bad press with bold moves may put a crimp on his natural Liberal ways. Towards that, let’s refresh our memories of the recent Maryland gubernatorial election:

Paths to Progress

As Maryland’s next Governor, Martin O’Malley will:

Fully Fund the Thornton Education Plan. Martin O’Malley will fully fund the entire Thornton Commission plan to improve K-12 education across Maryland, reduce the achievement gap, reduce class sizes and recruit and retain the quality teachers our children deserve.” Martin O'Malley: Opening the Doors of Educational Opportunity for All Marylanders

Remember that? He was all over Bob Ehrlich for not – as he continually hammered out - FULLY funding Thornton. Flash forward to presentation of his 1st budget:

However, the governor admits he is not funding the extra $100-million due Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties that's included in the Thornton Plan.

“That extra money is known as the Geographic Cost of Education Index or G.C.E.I. …

“During the campaign, O'Malley criticized Governor Robert Ehrlich for leaving out that extra money.”
O'Malley Unveils Budget Plan; No Tax Hikes, Slight Spending Increases

Now we go to his just-completed State of the State:

1) I ask for your support for the final year of Thornton school funding -- the largest single-year increase in Maryland history for education, with an additional $580 million in funding for local school systems;

2) I ask that you pass legislation codifying our state's commitment to phase in funding of the Geographic Cost of Education Index, beginning next year”


To sum up then:

But having the legislature pass such a law is just a political coward’s way of not having to take full responsibility for the spending it will entail. Oh, he’ll gladly bask in the aura of being the Education Governor but he will just as quickly point toward the legislature if this added requirement becomes part of the reason the state “reluctantly” has to raise our taxes.


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