Monday, April 12, 2010

Political Cowardice

In late March, the Maryland House of Delegates moved to eliminate one of their treasured perks, the state legislative scholarships, in order to help trim the beleaguered state budget. According to this story in The Sun, the delegates “suggested taking an $11.5 million fund for scholarships that legislators dole out on their own, and giving it to the higher education system.”

I thought this was a real act of political courage. Giving away our tax money at their individual discretion is a nice little perk for our elected representatives. It can’t hurt their name recognition at election time. While many voters may be in the dark about their legislators’ positions on the big issues of the day they aren’t likely to forget a giveaway to their kids or grandkids.

Personally, I’ve always had a problem with this perk and I heartily applauded the move to eliminate it.

My applause was a bit premature.

It turns out that our state senators were not pleased with this initiative by their brethren in the House. The senators retaliated by threatening to freeze all new bond issues like the one proposed for Symphony Woods until 2013. This is an even bigger perk and the threat to eliminate it was enough to convince the delegates to back off on the scholarship shenanigans.

“Senators wanted to eliminate a $15 million pool of money for pet projects that they borrow each year through bond issues. Both programs are frequent subjects of criticism. But ultimately, both the scholarship fund and the bond-bill projects stayed in the budget.”

It looks like another year of politics as usual in Annapolis. Nice going boys and girls, you just showed your true stripes.


Freemarket said...

I'm shocked! Not.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand it.
What about the federal stimulus bill which our elected representatives loaded with a gazillion earmarks?
Government porkbarrel at its best.
When are we going to look at their records before we vote and vote the entire bunch of them out of office?

Jan said...

We are an nonprofit representing the Azerbaijani-American community, and are trying to do research on health care, taxation and social security issues. Basically, through our research, we are overwhelmed with tons of information, and in order to be able to clearly and concisely formulate the choices to our members, we would be very interested in seeing some one-pagers outlining the pro's and con's on these topics. It would be also interesting to see what are other similar nonprofits thinking and doing. Being a grassroots organization, with a diverse membership, we need to be able to "keep it short" and easy to understand for busy people who don't particularly like or enjoy politics. If you have some tips, pointers and such information, could you please email it to me directly , or via our website

Anonymous said...

HH is right (and that may be the first time I've ever said that).

We need to have longer memories and look at people's records before casting a vote. To hell with political party titles that lead us to vote for the one with the most money.