O'Malley Plan Raises Billions in Excess; Analysis Shows Five-Year Impact of Sketchy Deficit-Reduction Programs

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom LoBianco, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to close the state's five-year, $6.9 billion budget shortfall would raise $3.6 billion more than necessary, according to an analysis of figures released by the governor's office.

About $2.5 billion of the additional money would go to new spending and tax cuts, although it is unclear how the additional $1.1 billion would be used.

Mr. O'Malley and his office have not discussed the net effect of their budget plan, but numbers used in The Washington Times analysis are those he has presented in public over the past two weeks.

The administration responded by saying that Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, "put forward a comprehensive, long-term plan to address the structural deficit that reduces spending growth by more than a billion over two years."

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the plan "makes our tax structure fairer for working families."

The analysis represents the five-year effect of the governor's plan.

Mr. O'Malley has not filed his proposal with the General Assembly, but state budget analysts said his estimates appear to be sound.

"I think we have a pretty good idea about what the magnitude should be," said Warren Deschenaux, chief budget analyst for the General Assembly.

Mr. Deschenaux said analysts are awaiting bills from the governor's office and that it is too early to judge Mr. O'Malley's unsupported assertion that 83.5 percent of Marylanders would pay less under his plan.

Republican leaders this week called the O'Malley's budget "deceitful" and said they would oppose two key proposals: legalized slot machines and a special session of the General Assembly to resolve the shortfall.

"I think they've cloaked this plan in a wrapping that hides the true nature and extent of these massive tax increases," said House Minority Leader Anthony J. …