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December 4, 2008

Maryland budget crunch? Frank Conaway's got a plan

Based on many of your comments to the earlier posts about state employee furloughs, there may be some popular support for City Circuit Clerk Frank M. Conaway's plan for saving government money: Stop paying elected officials so much. He just sent out a news release calling on "all elected and appointed offficials in every branch of government in Maryland to voluntarily give back a portion of their paycheck."

"All elected officials are drinking out of the public trough, and in these difficult times, elected officials should lead the way in showing that the burden of sacrifice falls first on those with the greatest responsibility.

"I call on all elected and appointed officials, regardless of their positions, to plant themselves at the forefront of this action. Furthermore, I hope to find a way for any contributions made by Maryland taxpayers to be a tax deduction."

If state lawmakers accepted Conaway's challenge, most would give up about $700 (based on a $43,500 annual salary and 250 yearly workdays; although some hard-cores could argue for a $1,900 give-back if they assume that part-time lawmakers are compensated for the 90-day Assembly session and nothing more).

Given the public anxiety over the economic situation (and the general call for the heads of corporate execs who take bailouts and then go on corporate retreats and such), it's surprising that we're not seeing more populism of this sort from elected offcials, particularly from Republicans. I'm kind of shocked that my prediction from yesterday that the Maryland GOP would be blasting us with press releases about the juxtaposition of buying state preservation land and pursuing employee furloughs at the same time has not come true.

In fact, the only word we've heard from the state Repbulican party today was a fund-raising appeal from Chairman Jim Pelura who wants to make sure you keep the GOP in your holiday gift-giving plans.

Posted by Andy Green at 1:59 PM | | Comments (4)
        

Comments

I totally agree with Conaway's plan, especially the $1900 cut for Assembly. They all have other jobs and have voted raises for themselves over and over.

All I can say, is that when I retired from State service, our Department was as lean as it could get. Most employees were doing the work of 2 people and many job still could not get done timely. These elected officials should set an example -- we voted for them! and we "will remember" any personal contributions they do or do not make.

Gee, based on Frank Conaway's last sentence, shouldn't I be able to take a tax deduction for the value of my furlough days? (If only that was the case.)

I have been a state employee for almost 40 years. Am I in favor of the furloughs? No, not really, but they are better than layoffs. The main problem that I have is that all state employees will not be subject to the furlough. Anyone who works for the state, this includes judges, legislators, police, health care workers, etc. should be subject to the same treatment. Obviously some places cannot close completely for two days as has been proposed, but every individual can pick 2 to 5 days that he will not work. If the elected officials don't wish to join the rest of us, many of us may remember their actions when election day rolls around.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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