ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s campaign for governor contends Republican Larry Hogan’s plan to save $1.75 billion in state spending doesn’t add up, but Hogan disputed the campaign’s findings Saturday and stood by his plan to make big savings by cutting waste and fraud.
Brown’s campaign cited faulty math and misinterpretations throughout Hogan’s analysis of state and federal audits, saying nearly $1.2 billion of Hogan’s claims would not translate into actual savings.
“Larry Hogan has based his entire campaign on this financial house of cards,” Brown’s campaign manager, Justin Schall, said Saturday. “This is the only so-called plan he’s released, and it demonstrates an alarming level of incompetence. It just shows that Hogan is not a serious candidate for governor, and he’s certainly not ready to lead Maryland’s budget or economy.”
Hogan, for his part, dismissed the findings of his opponent’s campaign, and he continued to criticize spending habits under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration, in which Brown has served for nearly eight years.
“Well, I don’t think any of that is true,” Hogan said Saturday. “I don’t really care what they’re saying. The facts are that they’ve mismanaged state government.”
Hogan also noted billions of dollars in state spending increases over the past eight years.
“Spending has to be cut,” Hogan said. “That’s the only way we’re going to roll back taxes and lift the burdens off of people.”
But the Brown campaign contends Hogan’s plan to find $1.75 billion in savings is riddled with gaping holes.
For example, the Brown campaign says a misplaced decimal point in Hogan’s analysis inflated a savings of $11.95 million to $119.5 million, for a difference of $107.5 million, alone. The Brown campaign also noted that another $112.7 million of the savings identified by Hogan originated from spending during former Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s administration, in which Hogan served as appointments secretary. The Brown campaign also contends that many other areas of savings cited by Hogan came from errors that were corrected years ago.
Hogan, however, said the administration has not followed through with a variety of recommendations from auditors.
“We’ve reviewed 300 different audits,” Hogan said. “Recommendations have been made that have been ignored.”
Brown’s campaign also pointed to about $284.7 million in overstated savings in Hogan’s analysis due to confusion over the property tax rate. The campaign says Hogan’s analysis includes $17.6 million in funds that were duplicated from previous years’ audits.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)