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Fact Checking Martin O’Malley

When Governor O’Malley takes to the airwaves or the oped pages he relies on two distinct rhetorical crutches: a straw man opponent to knock down, and his outright torture of data and statistics to make them wholly at odds with reality.

O’Malley’s response, in the Washington Post, to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s ad blitz knocking his record and Maryland’s dismal business climate is no different.

O’Malley is, as William F. Buckley Jr. would say, a pyromaniac in a field of straw men.  Those straw men are stuffed with twisted facts and outright lies.

As with most of O’Malley’s statements there is a yawning gap between his words and the truth.

Budget

“First, my administration cut more in state spending than any governor in Maryland history.”

This is a lie O’Malley has told since 2011.  It was a lie then, and no matter how much those phantom spending cuts grow each year, it is still a lie.

State spending data from the non-partisan Maryland Department of Legislative Services shows that the state budget for the current fiscal year is $36.9 billion. O’Malley’s first budget totaled $28.7 billion.  That is a 30 percent spending increase of $8.2 billion in real dollars.

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Taxes

“The conservative Tax Foundation ranks Maryland as having the eighth-lowest tax burden on mature firms, while Texas ranks 12th.”

The Tax Foundation has already rebuked O’Malley for cherry picking its data to create this false talking point.  Of Maryland’s overall business tax climate the foundation says:

Maryland is somewhere in the middle of the pack for sales taxes, and somewhere near the top for mature businesses and bottom for new business.  But for overall tax structure, Maryland is near the bottom: an unfriendly 42nd out of the 50 states.

In fact, Governor O’Malley has increased taxes and fees more than 40 times removing $9.5 billion from the state economy according to the grassroots group Change Maryland

It should be noted that O’Malley cherry picked and juked Tax Foundation data to respond to Change Maryland’s findings.

Thanks to Governor O’Malley’s several income tax hikes, Maryland businesses face the 7th highest marginal income tax rates in the nation.

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Education

Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation,” By investing in our schools, which Education week has ranked No. 1 in the nation since 2007.”

O’Malley’s source is a report from the left leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, which relied on flawed data supplied by the states. The Huffington Post said “undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results, making cross-state comparisons inaccurate and volatile.”  Last year the U.S. Department of Education released new graduation figures, in which the states used common rigorous data, allowing for true state-by-state comparisons.  That data shows Texas outranks Maryland in graduation rates.  Texas ranks 3rd in the nation with an 86 percent graduation rate, and Maryland 5th with an 83 percent graduation rate.

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Furthermore, the same Education Week Report that ranks Maryland No. 1, also shows Maryland schools are failing their most vulnerable students. Maryland ranks 50th in the poverty gap for 8th grade math and 38th for 4th grade reading poverty gap. 

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And the students Maryland does graduate from high school, a large percentage of them need remedial courses when they get to college.  According to this report from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, 61 percent of core community college students (those who took a college preparatory track in high school) needed remedial math instruction. Fifteen percent of core students attending a Maryland four-year institution needed remedial math instruction.

The education reform group Student’s First ranked Maryland schools 17th in the nation and they received a grade of D in areas of elevating teaching, empowering parents and spending wisely and governing well.

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What the Education Week rankings really say is that Maryland schools aren’t so great at student achievement, but are tops spending money, which, from O’Malley’s budget record, we know he excels at as well.

Healthcare

“Texas ranks 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.” 

This is a misleading claim because California actually has the highest number of uninsured under age 65 uninsured in the nation, according to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

To paraphrase Buckley again, don’t insult Martin O’Malley’s intelligence by suggesting he believes what he says.

 

 

Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Business Climate, Economy, Education, Must Read, Opinion, Politics, Taxes
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