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Maryland’s Spending Ranks 4th, Virginia’s 21st

The weekend edition of the Washington Examiner reports that “Maryland spending growth ranks fourth-highest in nation” (an increase of 11.2% in the state’s general fund) while Virginia’s spending ranks 21st (5.6%). The article, authored by Brian Hughes, adds:

“Critics . . . say the report shows that Maryland is not doing enough to tighten its belt amid economic turmoil.”

The Examiner story identified 10 states where general fund spending will actually decrease from FY 2011 to FY 2012, going from Alabama (-0.2%), Wisconsin (-0.9%) and Massachusetts (-1.0%) to #49 Texas (-8.5%) and #50 Nevada (9.9%).

While Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office “was unable to comment on the report by Thursday evening” . . . “the Virginia governor's office said the study showcased a clear distinction between the commonwealth and other cash-strapped states in tackling budget crises,” adding:

“Virginia has cut billions of dollars out of its budget over the past several years, but was able to restore some funding during the 2011 General Assembly session when lawmakers marked up the state's two-year, $80 billion spending blueprint.

"While some states have sought to survive this economic downturn by hiking taxes on their citizens and job creators, Governor McDonnell and Virginia have taken a different approach," said spokesman Tucker Martin. "The governor and legislators have worked together over the past year and a half to reject tax hikes and responsibly reduce state spending. These fiscally conservative steps produced a budget surplus, and have positioned the commonwealth well for the years ahead."

The news release from the National Governors Association said in part:

“State budgets are recovering, but have not returned to pre-recession levels of 2008, according to the biannual report, The Fiscal Survey of States, released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). As the federal government tries to get its fiscal house back in order, Washington might look to the states for lessons in good fiscal stewardship.

[ . . . ]

“General Fund revenues rose 5.9 percent in fiscal 2011, but 2012 revenues are still below 2008 levels. Recommended budgets for fiscal 2012 forecast a 3.9 percent increase in total tax revenue. Sales taxes increased by a scant 0.3%. Total General Fund revenues remain 3.6 percent below their pre-recession highs despite tax increases in several states.”

While NGA whines that “spending will still be below where it was in 2008,” it makes one wonder if any of that spending was really necessary. With Virginia’s spending increasing at double  the national average, one has to wonder if Virginia is merely returning to its pre-2008 profligate ways not withstanding the protestations of Gov. McDonnell. Contact information for your representatives in Richmond:

  • For members of Virginia's General Assembly, visit their webpage here.

p.s. Here is the link to the Spring 2011 Fiscal Survey of the States.


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