The Prescribed Special Session Agenda
Hear Ye! Here Ye! Citizens of Maryland! It is with great trepidation and tremendous consternation I remind you that Maryland General Assembly will convene, by request of the governor, for a two-day Special Session next week in Annapolis. May God help us all.
Before you go to your local pharmacy for the sedatives and massive amounts of lubricant you will need for this "billion dollar" suppository – read on for a little perspective that will perhaps explain in layman's terms the pain and discomfort coming your way.
First and foremost prior to the April adjournment, Sine Die, of the General Assembly the Maryland Constitution was upheld and our senators and delegates passed a balanced budget. This is an important fact to remember. Maryland is solvent and remains in full operation for its citizens.
From this point the waters get murkier. I have spoken with several members of this august body and have heard several session wrap-up reports, each time my eyes glaze over with acronyms, contingency plans, pieces of budget bills and numbers bigger than most Mega-Million jackpots.
Here is the Cavey version, in bullet point form, for your edification.
· Balanced budget passed on Monday April 9, 2012.
· Two other "budgeting bills" were not passed (SB 152 and SB 523), which were set to work in concert with the currently balanced budget. By far, the largest benefactors of the passage of these two bills will be Baltimore City, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
· Gov. Martin O'Malley (and his political future) needs harmony in these jurisdictions. He does not want to cut the cord of dependence to his friends.
· Press refers to the budget as "Doomsday Budget" because it needs to call it something other than balanced. Plus it is, in general, the minions of the governor.
· Governor O'Malley claims the current budget is $60 million over, not balanced, and needs a special session as soon as possible, otherwise the Board of Public Works will have to make those cuts. Again, he does not want to vote for a cut – personally – and does not want to be out-voted on the Board of Public Works. (Yikes!) He needs the General Assembly to take the heat.
· The outcome of the May Special Session has already been decided. Mr. O'Malley will get his wish. The deal is done and will be railroaded through the proceedings faster than the Japanese Central Railway's Maglev.
· Look for this type of agenda – Day One: Bills introduced (First Reader,) committee meetings and second reader. Day two – Third Reader, enough debate to make it look good, vote favorable on all bills and head home for the summer.
· Another session will occur in the fall and it will be focused on the payback for helping the three O'Malley dependent counties – a casino in Prince George’s County and expansion of gambling to include table games. (Done deal.)
· Baltimore City, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties are so relieved that they will then drive the train on the next Special Session as a thank you for their $30 million – apiece – net gain.
· Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (PG/Calvert) proves he rules Annapolis, because he is a very smart man with a long history, and politically there are few who can out think or out maneuver him.
· Gov. Martin O'Malley takes credit for all the goodies.
· Meanwhile taxpayers will end up on the short end of the stick in harsh economic times.
· Republican legislators (and a few Democrats) will vote against the bills because they know it is the right thing to do in difficult times.
· The registered Democrats in the public will have political Alzheimer's, remembering nothing and vote for "tax and spend Democrats" in November, again... then have a beer with their neighbor and complain about "those crooks in Annapolis."
There you go! Facts, opinion and predictions for the future. You don't need a CPA or a Masters in Finance to understand the budget. You only need to lick your finger hold it up and detect which way the political winds are blowing.
Just make sure you check before the suppository is delivered next week.