O'Malley takes some blame for budget fallout

Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday accepted some of the blame for the budget impasse that left the state with a spending plan that cuts about half a billion dollars from key Democratic priorities such as education.

"We all hold blame," O'Malley, a Democrat, said on WTOP's monthly Ask the Governor show. "We're all public servants. ... When the public is ill-served, as the public is right now, we all share the responsibility."

"I wish we had had a different result," he said. "It was not for lack of trying. It was not for a lack of commitment. It was not for a lack of time."

Maryland's General Assembly adjourned Monday night after passing a "Doomsday" budget that was never intended to become law. Leaders had planned to pass a tax increase, which would have forestalled the deepest cuts, but the tax package never made it off the Senate floor.

The more austere budget directs less money to Democratic strongholds, including Baltimore, and to local aid for roads, schools and public safety, prompting panic among local leaders, many of whom are trying to craft budgets balanced in part with state dollars.

The governor spoke for about an hour on WTOP, part of a media blitz in which the governor put his spin on the legislature's failure to enact an income tax increase that would have prevented cuts. He also appeared on WTTG, a FOX affiliate, and WAMU, a public radio station.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, both Democrats, want O'Malley to call a special session to fix the problem, but he has said he won't do it until a plan is in place.

"We had a budget agreement that was being considered that was in both houses," O'Malley said. "We pretty much had the compromise and the consensus down here. For some reason it broke down. Whether it broke down because of a lack of time? Or a lack of trust?"

"Those are the things that the speaker and the president have to ask each other," O'Malley said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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