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Frederick County on Right Fiscal Path

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A recent editorial was featured on by Michael Hough, of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Hough discussed how Frederick County is exploring outsourcing certain nonessential services to the private sector. Hough notes that this could create more jobs and cut government spending and taxes.

There is a simple test: If you can find a service in the Yellowbook, the government probably doesn't need to be doing it. After the Board of Frederick County Commissioners rejected the first privatization proposal, I'm glad to hear they plan to continue to explore how to cut county spending and taxes by competitively outsourcing some services to the private sector.

On the campaign trail last year, the top issues we candidates heard from voters involved government spending, jobs and high taxes. Unfortunately, but predictably, this year the majority of politicians in Annapolis ignored the wishes of voters by increasing state spending by $2 billion and raising taxes.

As a result of these tax-and-spend policies, Maryland is nationally ranked dead last in job creation and fourth-highest in taxes. Frederick County, however, has chosen a different path and is confronting its fiscal problems head-on.

State and county governments often hire workers to do the same jobs that the private sector already does. For example, across the state we have private-sector bail bondsmen, small-business owners who work to release individuals from jail. We also have government pretrial release departments that do the same job. The only difference is when the government does it, the taxpayers are forced to subsidize the release of criminals from jail.

These duplicative services hurt private-sector job creation and cost taxpayers a great deal of money. Thomas Jefferson said it best: "It is better for the public to procure at the market whatever the market can supply; because there it is by competition kept up in its quality, and reduced to its minimum price."

Last year, I introduced in the Maryland General Assembly legislation that would have had the state begin to competitively bid nonessential government services to the private sector. This legislation established a Council on Efficient Government, which was modeled after a successful initiative in Florida that saved more than $500 million. The bill required appointed members from the private sector to make outsourcing recommendations to the state. Unfortunately, the tax-and-spend crowd in Annapolis rejected my legislation, but I'm glad to see Frederick County is exploring similar more.

To read the full article, click on the following link, Frederick County on Right Fiscal Path.