The Capital and The Washington Post both reported that the House directed the Governor to make almost $500 million in budget cuts, and eliminate vacant state jobs, amongst other things. Only one problem: there's no budget!
If you were to read The Capital's headline, you would think this is a step in the right direction. But read until the end of the article, and you will find that this is not necessarily true:
Under Maryland law, a budget is first formed when a governor creates his
or her spending priorities and then the House and Senate can make reductions to
it. Typically, that process takes place during the General Assembly's
annual 90-day session.
A bill that makes such a change to a budget is called a BURFA (BRFA?), which stands for Budget Reconciliation and Funding Act, I think. And, such an act is what the House passed to direct the budget cuts that the articles headline. But think about it, what budget are we cutting? The 2008 budget is signed, sealed, delivered--and balanced, I might add; and we do not have a 2009 budget yet. The House is making cuts to a figment of Governor O'Malley's imagination, which he can ignore with great ease once he makes his budget!
I attended a meeting where Ron George spoke this morning, and he explained why he and Steve Schuh were the only 2 Republicans to vote for this bill. Citing the relative uselessness of the bill, Delegate George thought this to be a chance to build relationships, as such relationships will be necessary for any Republican to have any chance of getting on a conference committee that will actually iron out the final version of a given bill.
Hopefully their efforts will be rewarded.