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As Long as We Remember...

August 30, 2011

Governorís Power Grab

Shawn Burns

What is PlanMaryland? Why do we “need” it? And what is the true purpose of this policy proposal?


Many county leaders from across the state have voiced strong concerns and doubts over the plan. They fear that the plan amounts to nothing more than a greater concentration of power over local property rights in the hands of politicians and un-elected bureaucrats in Annapolis.


This much is true: bureaucrats in Annapolis will certainly have more authority to dictate what property owners can and cannot do on their land across the state.


The following is taken directly from the PlanMaryland website (


Why Do We Need PlanMaryland?


PlanMaryland will help identify and build consensus around key issues of concern to most Marylanders and offer reasonable, common sense and attainable solutions to address these issues. The goals include maintaining and improving quality of life; protecting and preserving agricultural, historic, cultural, and natural resources; and providing more choices for people to live in communities where housing, jobs and services are more accessible and affordable.


What? Clearly this paragraph was written and rewritten multiple times by a large group of un-elected bureaucrats in Annapolis. That is the only explanation of this longwinded, rambling statement that states nothing.


Translation of the paragraph is: Fall in line and do what we tell you to do with your land or else.


Again, from the official PlanMaryland website comes the following:


PlanMaryland is all about the future. It proposes to build on existing State and local plans and programs toward a new level of accountability from State agencies and local governments. The focus is not on new programs, more money or more State control. Instead, a new emphasis would be placed on the ways in which individual State agencies and local governments coordinate and work together on their respective responsibilities and actions.


That sounds good.


Who is against planning for the future?


However, if the purpose of PlanMaryland is as noble as creating “… a new level of accountability…” and “…improved coordination between state agencies…,” then just do it.


Someone in charge needs to demand improved accountability and coordination and demand results. That someone should be the governor. If this is an area that he feels needs fixing, then he should have a backbone and put people on notice to make it happen. End of story. Problem fixed. No need for focus groups, public hearings and new policies and regulations from Annapolis that will hamstring property owners in every corner of the state.


Here is one more paragraph from the PlanMaryland website that stands out:


State agencies, through their capital and non-capital resources, programs, and procedures would place a priority on these common areas. State agencies and local governments contemplating actions that might contradict established goals and commitments will have to identify potential conflicts and resolve them.


Translation: If you don’t do what we tell you, we won’t give you access to state resources, namely tax revenue.


And now this bunch involved with PlanMaryland considers anyone who lives on two acres of land as some sort of criminal who must be dealt with.


Families who choose to live on as little as a two acre are vilified by PlanMaryland because they aren’t doing what they are told and they do not fit neatly into one of the state established “Priority Funding Areas.”


PlanMaryland essentially describes families on two-acre lots as greedy, selfish, polluters, and the very downfall of the state.


Maybe it’s the endless cycle of policies and regulations such as Plan Maryland that constantly tells Marylanders that we can’t think for – or take care of – ourselves and that we need to just do what we are told.


This plan stinks. The bureaucrats who are pushing PlanMaryland claim the proposal isn’t about new programs or more state control. But PlanMaryland itself is a new program, new policies and new regulations on land use in the state. Already the credibility of this bunch is in question because of their less-than-honest statements on their own website.


As is always the case with those in power, what they have is never enough and stealing away more of the property rights of Marylanders is just the latest attempt to concentrate and wield more power over the day-to-day lives of the people of Maryland.


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