The reverse Midas touch

I have a confession to make. I am a Californian by birth, a Marylander by choice, and a conservative by reason.

While fiscal conservatives across the nation feel renewed hope that the 2010 elections will restore sanity to our national and state budgets, and constrain the massive overreach of government, deep down, I am kind of bummed.

Two states in America chose to push down on the accelerator to pull a Butch and Sundance, California and Maryland.

Californians inexplicably chose to go back to the past to a now-bald, old Jerry Brown, who ran the state so badly in his two terms in the late ’70s that voters tied his hands to raise property taxes by passing Proposition 13. Jerry Brown fueled the original Tea Party revolt, and yet 30 years later, as California faces its worst fiscal crisis ever, he is back living in his van down by the Sacramento River.

I guess California’s education system really has slipped over the past decade or so — either that or they don’t get to the 1970s in fourth-grade history.

While the Golden State’s economy is turning the nation’s ring finger green, my adoptive state of Maryland decided to set the standard on the East Coast for fiscal irresponsibility by rehiring Martin O’Malley, who has managed to take a $670 million surplus and turn it into a $2 billion dollar structural deficit every year for as far as the eye can see.

O’Malley’s decisions to institute Project Labor Agreements to benefit his friends in organized labor at taxpayer expense, combined with decisions related to public employee pay and significantly increasing funding of Baltimore’s education system, has led Maryland into the downward spiral of increased taxes bringing fewer revenues, as millionaires vote with their feet by moving their primary residences to Virginia, Florida or anywhere else but here.

Not to get too crabby, but it is hard to enjoy a national victory when the two places that you have come to love completely reject sanity. Perhaps if I decide to move somewhere in my retirement years, I should come with a warning label, that higher taxes and overreaching government is sure to follow.

Rick Manning is a native Californian living in beautiful Chesapeake Beach, Md. His viewpoint is his own, and probably not shared by anyone else.

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