Friday, September 19, 2008

Typical hot head Thomas V Mike Miller

Maryland State Senate President, Thomas V Mike Miller was never content to keep his opinions to himself. The very person that referred to past Lt. Governor Michael Steele as an “uncle tom,” has put his foot in his mouth again, this time aiming the frustration and poor judgment of Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration, against Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Franchot a democrat, as raised the hair on Miller’s back by not “falling in to line” with O’Malley and Miller’s view of their kingdom.

Miller’s back biting is nothing new in this state, and this time is no exception. His decision to make this latest personal battle public just might come back to bite him. Miller has yet to make the decision of whether or not run for re-election in 2010, but this arrogant and demeaning letter to Franchot, can do nothing but reduce his standing in many peoples eyes.

Although Miller has been in office for over thirty years, Franchot is hardly a new comer to the political scene, serving over 20 years himself. Regardless of that fact Miller has chosen to demean him in public.

Miller and O’Malley believe their view of the fiscal condition of the State of Maryland, is the only one. Announced this week was a reported $432 million shortfall that could blossom to $1 billion by next fiscal year. Clearly the tax increases haven’t worked the way the administration hoped they would, but Miller won’t open his closed mind to any new ideas. I guess Franchot should thank god he’s a democrat, I can only IMAGINE the letter’s contents if he was a Republican…………..maybe Mike Miller should just slither the way of Parris Glendening come 2010.

September 10, 2008

Comptroller Peter Franchot

Comptroller of Maryland

80 Calvert Street

P.O. Box 466

Annapolis, MD 21404-0466

Dear Peter:

I have worked with many statewide elected officials during my tenure in the Maryland General Assembly, and I have watched each deal differently with the mantle of statewide leadership. I was most impressed by those who understood the truism: “What got you here won’t get you there.” They knew they had to grow beyond the experience they brought with them into office, which helped them thrive in their statewide leadership role. These successful officials served our State well, and they earned the respect and gratitude of the citizens of Maryland.

Regrettably, as you stumble through your second year in the Comptroller’s Office, it is evident you do not understand that what got you into statewide office will not ensure success as a statewide official. Rather than growing into your role, you are clinging to the worst habits of a novice elected official – preening for the press, repackaging old ideas and calling them new, expanding your budget, while criticizing others for bloat in theirs, offering policy alternatives one day that are incongruous with your positions from the day before, and criticizing others for leading while offering nothing to the debate.

Your letter of September 8 is the latest example of your obsession with the press, and your disregard for the relationships you need to be an effective leader. I received requests from reporters for comment before I received the letter. Your decision to leak the letter before delivering it can only lead to a conclusion that your goal is to gain media exposure for yourself – not to raise concerns in the spirit of good faith or good government. Your tactics are not becoming of a statewide elected official – they are stunts better left to backbench lawmakers. After making a career for twenty years as an Annapolis insider, you should know better.

In your letter, you recycled an old idea and offered it up as new. That mistake is usually reserved for someone with far less institutional knowledge and experience than you. You called your proposal for a blue ribbon commission “fresh” and “truly worthwhile” – when, in reality, a blue ribbon commission
is a bridge to nowhere in State government. During your time in the General Assembly, State leaders assembled at least four commissions to assess the State’s finances. Surely you remember the Butta, Linowes, Puddester and Mandel Commissions. If not, I would be happy to ask the Department of Legislative Services to send you copies of their reports.

You also promised a list of “spending reforms” you will implement – I believe you referred to it as “leading by example.” I welcome such initiative, but I would be remiss if I failed to point out that if we had followed your example for the last two years, our State’s fiscal situation would be far worse.

Since becoming Comptroller, you have expanded your executive office’s budget by an average of 9.4% annually – as compared to an average of 3.8% annual growth in the Governor’s Office, 5.6% annual growth in the legislature, and 6.5% annual growth across all other state agencies. Ironically, the Governor and the General Assembly have done a better job of controlling State spending than you have done controlling your own executive office’s growth. While I doubt your ability to match our fiscal discipline, I commend you for realizing that instead of simply criticizing others, you can be a part of the solution to the challenges we face.

Your letter of September 8 offers an example of your propensity to offer positions today that are incongruous with your record in the past. Sadly, you are the first statewide officeholder I have watched change positions with such ease. To wit, you wrote that “we cannot tax, or gamble, our way out of fiscal and economic distress” – yet, lest anyone forget, you passionately advocated for those options as a member of the House of Delegates. You sponsored legislation to bring slot machine gambling to Maryland in 1998 and 2001. You also voted for:

_ A 1% increase in the State sales tax,

_ Expanding the sales tax to property management services,

_ Expanding the sales tax to health and fitness clubs,

_ Imposing a five-year income tax surcharge of 6% on net taxable income over $150,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers,

_ Controlling interest legislation, and

_ A 1% increase in the vehicle titling tax.

You are on the record voting in favor of $1 billion in new taxes, and you sponsored legislation to raise the gas tax and to tax food – regressive options which would have disproportionately affected the working families all fight to protect. More recently, you have advocated for more spending on biotechnology, while opposing any revenue increases and advocating for “belt-tightening” in State government. You make heart-felt pleas for more school construction dollars in Baltimore County, while opposing changes to our debt ratios or the video lottery program which would ensure public school funding in future fiscal years.

By offering a chameleon-like approach to public policy, you have become a practitioner of the “politics as usual” that you criticize. Your ever-shifting positions are intellectually irreconcilable and beneath the station you hold in State government. After twenty years of steadfast advocacy for liberal causes and progressive taxation in the General Assembly, I am disappointed to watch you pander to the citizens of Maryland.

Your letter offers another example of your tendency to criticize from the sidelines while others are leading. This Monday-morning quarterbacking is more appropriate behavior for the minority party – not for a statewide official who could exercise influence over public policy in the State of Maryland.

Your insinuation that last fall’s special session lacked “transparency and meaningful citizen input” has me concerned that you are spending too much time listening to talk radio. To the contrary, lawmakers sat in hour after hour of public hearings, listening to ordinary Marylanders voice their support for and concerns about the Governor’s proposal to address our State’s structural deficit.

Lawmakers held public – and often heated – debates and ultimately took publicly recorded votes. Our process, though not always pretty, was certainly public.

I want to correct your more egregious misconceptions about the past two years. Working together, Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly have cut $1.8 billion from the State budget. We have provided full funding to our public schools and invested a record sum in school construction and renovation – without raiding Program Open Space or transportation funds. We have broadened healthcare coverage for working families, and we have renewed our investment in Chesapeake Bay restoration. We have emphasized accountability with the Governor’s StateStat and BayStat programs, and we have increased transparency in State spending. Like many states, we have fallen victim to a sluggish national economy. At least 29 states are facing a total budget shortfall of $48 billion in FY 2009, and lawmakers around the country are preparing to make difficult decisions to shore up their State budgets. The Governor is going to make hard choices this fall as he cuts from FY 2009 and crafts his FY 2010 budget.

While you have endured a rocky start to your statewide service, I believe there is time for you to restore faith and credibility with the citizens of Maryland. As you consider your role in the statewide arena, I encourage you to get back to the basics.

Take a look at your own website if you need guidance. It reads, in part: “The principal duty of this office is to collect taxes… Acting as Maryland’s chief accountant, the comptroller pays the state’s bills, maintains its books, prepares financial reports, and pays state employees.” You are the “chief accountant” – but none of your tax collection duties make you the “chief fiscal officer of the State.” That role is and has always been held by the Chief Executive of the State of Maryland the Governor. More than ever, Maryland needs a Comptroller who is focused on the fundamentals, so that we can weather this financial crisis without wondering whether revenue was left uncollected.

You ended your letter with the hope of collaboration, and I will end mine on the same note. I share your hope to work collaboratively, but I remain skeptical of your ability to work in partnership with other state officials. Your bad habits have diminished your standing and reduced your effectiveness as Comptroller. I encourage you to work on the fundamentals so you can restore your reputation and help all of us achieve great things for the people of Maryland.

Moreover, I hope that one day you are able to fulfill the potential that existed when you were elected. If you should ever wish to speak to me about substantive issues relating to the duties of your office, please do not hesitate to call me.

Very truly yours,

Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.

Voting for this man, only encourages his behavior, and furthers the idea that he is untouchable........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Think maybe someone had too much time on their hands?