I am stunned. No, really. I am stunned that The Washington Post editorial page has the wherewithal to make a legitimate comparison between two counties, public employee unions and their budgetary woes, it is stunning.
In this from The Washington Post editorial, it notes that Montgomery County, Maryland is a good, ol' fashioned, corrupt, union employee county. And that Fairfax County, Virginia, is not.
The thrust of the editorial is how these two counties did what every entity does when times are good. They increased spending. And how when times are bad, they have to look at ways to cut budgets that probably should not have been drastically increased in the first place.
Now the editorial does not condemn the public employee unions in Montgomery County, Maryland. It points out that the County Board is all Democrat. And rather inexperienced in comparison to their counterparts in Fairfax County, Virginia. The county executive in Montgomery is elected. The county executive in Fairfax is appointed. Thus one is accountable directly to the voters and one indirectly.
The editorial gave a comparison of budget year 2006.
In Fairfax County, the budget rose six percent.
But in Montgomery County, the budget rose 11%. It did not help that the County Executive was also running for the Democrat nomination for governor. You do not win primaries in the Democrat party by holding back on the government goodies.
When times got tough, Fairfax County has been able to freeze government spending-including wages. Montgomery County has done song-and-dance, smoke-and-mirrors and finds that because there are powerful unions, it is not easy actually carrying out the same thing that Fairfax County did.
Virginia does not allow public employees to organize into labor unions. Maryland does. And the result is that one county, Fairfax, will weather the economic downturn. The other county, Montgomery, may begin to look like Greece at some point.
Read the whole thing.
Now, if California could be more like Virginia. . .