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March 15, 2007

Raise The Revenue Estimates

Chris Cavey

Two totally related occurrences happened this week. First, the Baltimore Sun, beloved paper of partisan Democrats, pronounced that the idea of raising Maryland's bonded indebtedness was a reasonable consideration. Immediately after, former Gov. Parris Glendening moved to amateur standings on the list of people who tried to bankrupt Maryland.

Raising the debt limit - by a governor and a Democrat-lead legislature immediately after a full year of election promises - is dangerous. Raising the debt cap after finding out you can fulfill your campaign promises in the first year is even more dangerous.

However, Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer (D., Baltimore/Howard) is now being quoted as asking: "Are we constraining ourselves too much?" That, my dear readers, is priceless!

Democrats in Washington rail against the debt piled up by the Iraq War and are blaming Republican President George W. Bush. The press watches with glee the speed of the debt clock and in Maryland Senator Kasemeyer wants to broaden our thinking on the joys and advantages of public debt? He must have a major chemical imbalance.

Think about what is happening in Annapolis. Last week the talk was taxes: gas tax, income tax, tobacco tax, sales tax. You name the tax and it was at least mentioned in the great marbled halls of the statehouse. Revenue enhancements are needed to fund campaign promises.

Also last week Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller (D., Calvert/Prince George's) was speaking about slots and a slots bill as if it was a foregone conclusion. He was beyond doubt in speaking about the fact Maryland would soon ring with the wacky jingles, music and bells the slot machines play. The only jingle President Miller was thinking about was the jingle the coins would make in the state's coffers.

Now, this week we have raising bond caps! For those of you who do not understand this, here is a simple explanation to ponder; the basic principle is like this:

You are at your credit limit on your only credit card and have been making the minimum payments. You made promises to your kids to buy them all the stuff they have been whining for over the past four years. Currently you can't afford anything and the kids are still whining that you promised them toys.

Perhaps slots are the answer. You just can't seem to hit the jackpot during any of your trips to Delaware Park or Charles Town. So you and your spouse decide that your interpretations of your credit limits perhaps need to be changed. In other words you just say: "Hey, let's dig the hole deeper, OK?" You then vote to raise your own credit limit. Certainly the kids won't complain!

Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with this picture? Patrick S. Frank, the General Assembly's chief debt analyst, sees a pending problem. In a briefing he was quoted as saying: "When you change your personal income estimates, you change your capacity. You could get in a situation where all of a sudden, one day, we're over the limit." Hallelujah, brother!

Even the Baltimore Sun strained to spin some reason into the idea of greater indebtedness. Not to fear, they were able to churn up a few liberal needs and a school or two in need of repair as examples. Good thing they are professionals in the world of liberal interpretation and confusion of the public. A lesser publication would have failed.

The bottom line is this. About 50 days ago the state had a surplus. Today we are "interpreting our credit to meet our needs." Perhaps next week Democrats in Annapolis can discuss printing currency? They know it works great for the federal government. After all, Maryland hasn't printed money since June 8, 1780.

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