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April 3, 2012

What We Got Ain’t So Hot Either…

Shawn Burns

“People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can't live within its income,” Robert Half once said.


Once again, the Maryland General Assembly is about to conclude another legislative session filled with more taxes, more fees and more regulations.


And each new law means more money is being snatched from the pockets of Maryland taxpayers.


It is abundantly clear that the Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D., Calvert) has never met a tax or fee proposal he didn’t like. And this year is no different than any previous year for this “tax-and-spend” champion.


For longtime Maryland residents, a never-ending stream of tax and fee increases is as commonplace as drawing a breath of air deep into your lungs.


Senator Miller was recently quoted as saying: "We're one of the wealthiest states in the union and we can certainly afford a gas tax...”


Apparently Senator Miller doesn’t realize that over half of Maryland counties have median household incomes below the state average. Sometimes the facts present Senator Miller with an inconvenient truth: what he claims doesn’t match reality. But when you’ve been running the state as long as he has, facts don’t matter. You can just do whatever you want during a special session after the elections in the fall.


And for anyone keeping score, if Senator Miller follows Gov. Martin O’Malley’s suggestion of applying the state sales tax to gas purchases, the gas tax will cost taxpayers much more than the original proposed increase of 15-cents per gallon.


Let’s not forget that Maryland taxpayers have already been flat-out lied to regarding taxes already collected for the purpose of meeting our transportation needs.


Every year Senator Miller has been one of the ringleaders who have raided hundreds of millions of dollars from the Transportation Trust Fund in order to spend that money on other stuff and balance the general fund. It’s the gas tax which funds the Transportation Trust Fund.


Without question it is correct that Maryland must fix, build and renovate roads across the state. But many of those projects could have been started and even finished if Senator Miller and Governor O’Malley had not allowed millions of dollars to be taken out of the Transportation Trust Fund.


“When there's a single thief, it's robbery. When there are a thousand thieves, it's taxation,” said Vanya Cohen.


In order to keep spending money, senator Miller and company are prepared to hit Marylanders with a long list of new taxes and fees, some of which include the gas tax increase, doubling the “flush” tax, increasing income taxes, reducing itemized deductions by 10 or 20 percent for certain taxpayers, and reducing the mortgage interest deduction.


And this list of increases doesn’t include the plan to shift the funding obligations for teacher pensions to the counties and Baltimore City.


Could Maryland have just one session of the General Assembly that does not include any new taxes or fees? Is that too much to ask from the politicians in Annapolis?


How about a session of the General Assembly that involves reducing waste and cutting spending for a change? How refreshing would it be for Marylanders if the General Assembly actually took into account the wallets of the taxpayers instead of dreaming up new ways to spend money? It’s always easy (and fun) to spend money when it is not yours.

Some reports estimate that Marylanders could see an increase of taxes and fees upwards of $500 a year. And that is just from this meeting of the General Assembly.


It is tiring and stressful for many Marylanders anytime the General Assembly meets because every time this bunch gets together, more money is missing from the wallets of Marylanders.


Cronyism and career politicians are making it more and more difficult for more Marylanders to stay in the state they love.


Sometimes, as the humorist Gerald Barzan once said: “Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.”


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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