Now, as a lifelong resident of the Free State, I can attest that Maryland is a fairly liberal state and it spends at the state and county levels in a fairly liberal manner. Today's Washington Post characterized Democratic Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's first budget proposal as detrimental to the county's public schools.
"Leggett to Offer Cautious Budget: 6% Increase Would Shrink School Request," read the headline to Miranda S. Spivack's Metro section front pager.
What makes the Leggett budget so cautious compared to the last one sought by his predecessor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan?
Perhaps because Duncan's last budget, Spivack noted, increased county spending by 9 percent. Of course both 6 and 9 percent growth rates for county spending well outpace the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product.
And what about the school budget increase "shrinking"? Spivack herself noted that nearly 85 percent ($117 million out of $137 million requested) of the school system's request remains intact in Leggett's budget. What's more, the school system's budget "has risen 31 percent" in the past four years, according to Spivack.
Even so, the Post reporter failed to find any conservative critics to suggest that the county government carried on an unsustainable spending binge on schools in the past few years. Yet Spivack did find ink to carry the complaints of two county council members and the local school board president about how the school system would need to tighten its belt in the coming year.