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To cut budget, look backward

July 05, 2007

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, facing a $1.5 billion deficit, has asked his staff to come up with $200 million in cuts.

The fact that he's asked for such cuts is a good thing, but with a July 11 Board of Public Works meeting looming, the staff hasn't hit the target yet.

O'Malley has hinted that cuts alone won't close the gap, but before he starts talking about "revenue enhancements" - new taxes - we'd like to hear that the governor has taken advantage of a resource provided by a fellow Democrat four years ago.

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel chaired a panel, which looked at many state agencies and policies and offered a number of recommendations, including:

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Eliminating a rule that prevents state-funded police agencies from purchasing equipment jointly with federal agencies.

Consolidate the 16 separate police forces that guard state facilities under the General Services Administration.

Encourage the state commission on Human Relations to urge complainants to mediate disputes to cut costs.

These are just a few of the recommendations made by the panel, which included state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

To ignore those recommendations without a serious look at them would be a waste of state resources.

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