I by the non-profit here on this blog yesterday and included several links to the review of all 50 states. The post wasn't intended to be a comprehensive report as much as an effort to let readers know it existed and show them where it could be found.
Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for the governor, cried foul and sent an email detailing what the O'Malley administration sees as problems with the report. I'm presenting her email here unedited:
Hey: I can't believe you guys put this up on your website without contacting us. The whole thing is very sketchy. The "reporter" who called me about this we found out actually works for the organization. He wanted reaction to our grade but wouldn't send us a copy of the report or give us any specifics. The report is very flawed. Makes very sweeping statements without any evidence of its findings. Also, MD has been recognized by numerous recognized and accredited organizations for its transparency. Here are just a few examples of where the study is just flat out wrong:
THEIR CLAIM: Redistricting
Public meetings to solicit input on new district maps were not held for the latest redistricting round, or were so limited or generalized as to render them meaningless.
FACT: The Maryland Constitution requires that the Governor conduct public hearings, which means at least two. During the last redistricting cycle, the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee conducted 12 public meetings across the State before the Committee submitted a proposed plan to the Governor. The Governor then scheduled an additional public meeting in Annapolis to hear comments on the proposed plan.
THEIR CLAIM: Public plans were not allowed for consideration by the redistricting policy making body, and/or were given such discriminatory treatment at the hands of government actors, rendering them meaningless in the overall process.
FACT: The Redistricting Committee welcomed the submission of third party plans and posted clear guidelines on how to do so. See http://planning.maryland.gov/redistricting/2010/3rdpartyplans.shtml.
Numerous third party plans were posted on the Department of Planning’s website and were reviewed by the Committee. Improvements in technology and the widespread availability of redistricting software allowed for the most open and transparent redistricting process in the history of the State.
THEIR CLAIM: State Budget Process
Citizens cannot access itemized budget allocations due to secrecy, prohibitive barriers or government inefficiency.
FACT: On the Department of Budget and Management’s website, all of the operating budget documents are available for the current proposed budget, current operating budget and past enacted budgets. This information is broken down by agency, itemized and is also searchable online. Capital budget information is also itemized and available on the website. http://www.dbm.maryland.gov
THEIR CLAIM: The governor does not publish a mid-year review for the first six months of the budget year to discuss any changes in economic assumptions that would affect approved budget policies.
FACT: Due to the timing of the legislative session (January – April), a thorough analysis of the current budget is performed by the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services every year. The reports that are published by DLS are available for anyone to see on the DLS website.