Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ehrlich vs. O’Malley: Who Cut the State Workforce?

Former Governor Bob Ehrlich is running for his old job as a fiscal conservative who “believes Maryland must begin spending within its means.” We have already demonstrated that Ehrlich increased general fund spending by 37% during his four years in office while O’Malley has cut it by at least 7%. But there is another way to measure the size of government: the number of people it employs. And only one of these two Governors has actually cut that figure:

Martin O’Malley.

Following are the workforce totals at the end of the Glendening administration (FY 2003), the end of the Ehrlich administration (FY 2007) and in O’Malley’s last budget proposal (FY 2011). The workforce is in two general categories: state regular full-time equivalents (FTEs), who are eligible for benefits, and contract FTEs, who do the work of employees but do not get benefits.

Ehrlich cut the regular workforce by 534 FTEs but added 729 contract FTEs for a net expansion of 195 FTEs, or 0.2% of the state’s total workforce.

O’Malley cut the regular workforce by 702 FTEs, added just 44 contract FTEs and had a net reduction of 658 FTEs, or 0.7% of the workforce.

Here are the workforce changes for the fifteen largest components of state government over each Governor’s term.

Ehrlich cut eight departments. O’Malley cut ten. The biggest reduction made by either Governor was O’Malley’s 15% cut to employment at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This has earned O’Malley lots of criticism, especially from the developmentally disabled community.

And so the right’s claim that Ehrlich presided over a fiscally conservative administration while O’Malley has been a liberal spender is just plain wrong, whether one examines dollars or employees. Will the mainstream media develop the courage to point this out?