Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Secretary of State Martin O'Malley

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is at it again! He is off gallivanting around the globe again all in the name of moving Maryland forward. And if O'Malley thinks that padding his résumé for higher office moves Maryland forward, then it's mission accomplished!

You'll remember last year O'Malley took a contingent to Asia to help foster economic relations with countries in that region. The running joke was that O'Malley was preparing to be a future Secretary of State. Or was he trying to get some foreign relations experience for when he succeeds Barbara Mikulski as U.S. Senator from Maryland when she retires in 200 years?

This time, O'Malley took a contingent of about 100 people, many of them government officials, to India for a 10-day trip. He claims that more than half of them are paying their way. What about the other half? Are we, the tax-payers of Maryland, footing this bill? Is he robbing from the Transportation Fund to pay for this trip? Is this why he needs to raise the gas tax by another 15 cents?

So how much could this trip to India cost the tax-payers of Maryland? I looked on for flights from BWI to Mumbia. The cheapest flight is $1,755 round-trip. He says the majority of the delegation paid their own way. Let's assume that the State of Maryland paid for 49 people (that's less than half of 100 people). That's nearly $86,000. The cheapest hotel rooms on are $192 per night. For 49 rooms for 10 nights, that's $94,000. Perhaps O'Malley has everyone shacked up with another person (ignoring whether they are of the same sex or opposite sex), that's $47,000. So with the flight and room we're looking at about $150,000.

Rental cars - how are they getting around? Train? A giant limo? A bus? An elephant? I dunno. If they are renting cars, they could get a 4-seat car for $358 for the week. Let's assume they'll need 25 cars for 10 days, that's $358/7 days = $51 per day times 25 cars x 10 days, that's $12,750. Did I do the math correctly?

Food? What are they going to eat? Compliments of India? I couldn't find information on the cost of dining. Actually, I lied. I didn't even look it up. No ambition. But it's going to cost us. I think that's safe to say.

So all in all, we as tax-payers are probably looking at about $175,000 for flight, hotel, and travel expenses. We'll need to add in more money for food and souvenirs. I bet there are 4 former state employees who wish they still had a job. But instead this money is being spent on the global economy.

I'm not poo-pooing the trip. I hope it generates business for Maryland companies, the few of them that are left. But I think it's always good to know what it's costing us as tax-payers to help O'Malley make a bigger name for himself.

By the way, Governor, can you pick up some Tikki Ki Chaat for me while you're there? Thanks!

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