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Munson, Donoghue do heavy lifting for county in Annapolis

April 20, 2010

In Annapolis, there are talkers and there are doers. If Washington County had any doubts about who was whom among its elected lawmakers, this just-ended session certainly cleared the air.

Credit goes to state Sen. Donald F. Munson and Del. John P. Donoghue for doing the heavy lifting in a lean budgetary year and ensuring that the people of Washington County will have something to show for the 2010 session.

Washington County will receive $2.5 million for the Washington County Free Library; $2.53 million for a new Maryland State Police barrack; $75,000 for construction of the Rural Heritage Transportation Museum in Boonsboro; $50,000 toward the expansion of the Deafnet Association Inc. building; and $50,000 for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

It goes without saying that these projects are important not just for the library, the state police and such, but also for the workers who will be employed to construct these improvements.

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And it almost goes without saying that without Munson and Donoghue, the county would have not done anywhere near as well.

Washington County's Republican delegates did not vote in favor of the very budgets that will pay for these projects. That's their right, and as a statement about fiscal restraint, it might even have some merit.

But such posturing, valid or not, clearly has its cost.

The dam at Devil's Backbone Park is on its last legs, and at first appeared to be the financial responsibility of Washington County to replace. But Munson and Donoghue were able to convince the state to pay $550,000 of the repair costs.

After the Republicans' budget vote, however, House Democrats pulled the funding for the dam on the logic that if you don't support the budget, you shouldn't be rewarded with the cash.

Fortunately, the money was restored at the last minute by Munson, who held a seat on the budget reconciliation committee.

This is the difference between show horses and work horses. Those in our delegation who talk the loudest about taxes actually would have cost Washington County taxpayers an extra $550,000 were it not for Munson and Donoghue's more measured approach.

Because of Munson and Donoghue, more of Washington County's tax money will stay in Washington County, instead of being spent on projects in other parts of the state. Further, local tax money that we would have had to spend on the Devil's Backbone dam can be put to some other use. And finally, a number of people who might otherwise have been unemployed will have jobs and be able to keep their homes and feed their families thanks to our local projects.

Some might trade all of this for the warm feeling, and the political benefits, that come from standing up on the House floor and telling those in the opposing party to stuff it.

But, like Munson and Donoghue, we are comfortable in being more restrained.

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