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August 23, 2012

Another O’Malley Assault on Your Wallet

Blaine R. Young

I recently attended the annual three day conference of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO) in Ocean City. I found it to be a worthwhile investment in time because I got to discuss common areas of interest and concern with county leaders from across the state.


However, because I strongly believe that the taxpayer should not foot the bill for county commissioners to attend meetings outside of the county, I paid my own way.


I always learn a good bit at MACO. This meeting was no different. And, coming on the heels of two special sessions during which the General Assembly passed new taxes and another ballot measure to go to the voters, this one on gambling, I learned a good deal about where many county officials think this state is headed.


It certainly appears that our governor is not likely to be content with the tax increases he has rammed through in his first six years in office. As you know, in 2012 he spearheaded increases to the income tax, the flush tax, and another enormous unfunded mandate on the counties, which I call the “rain tax.” This is a requirement that 10 counties, Frederick County included, retrofit an enormous amount of storm water infrastructure. The estimated cost to Frederick County is over $1.5 billion.


See the to the staff report


But that is not enough to satisfy Gov. Martin O’Malley.


And, although he was nowhere to be seen at the MACO conference, where he usually makes an appearance and gives a speech, his legions were there promoting his increasingly liberal agenda. It is clear that the governor has put Maryland in the rearview mirror. The latest news is that he has a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention in September, and it is all part of his strategy to take Maryland further to the left, and tax us to death, all designed to burnish his liberal Democrat credentials when it comes time to compete in the 2016 Democrat primaries for president.


We here in Maryland are now nothing more than a giant Petri dish, in which he can continue to conduct his tax and spend experiment on the long suffering taxpayers of this state. He is seeking to demonstrate to the core liberal base of the Democratic Party four years from now that he is sufficiently liberal to carry their banner into the White House. I only hope we can survive him.


Of course, it wouldn’t be MACO without the governor’s lieutenants floating yet another massive tax increase idea to be considered at next year’s General Assembly session. This one involves taxing us on the number of miles we drive our car. That’s right, every year we will be required to have our vehicle’s odometers inspected, and we would get a tax bill, if Governor O’Malley has his way, based on the number of miles we have driven the previous year.


Apparently the governor is in a snit because he didn’t get his gas tax increase. So, rather than tax our fuel, in addition to taxing our income and everything else that isn’t nailed down, he now wants to tax our travel time. One can only wonder if each one of us gave the State of Maryland every dollar we earn, if that would be enough to satisfy Martin O’Malley.


Another thing I learned at MACO is that there is a divergence of opinion on what the voters will do in November with all of the ballot measures which will be before them for an up-or-down vote.


As you may recall, the so-called “Dream Act,” which provides state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants, will be on the ballot. We also will see ballot measures concerning same-sex marriage and the Democrat’s redistricting map. We can now add to that a gambling bill, which adds a sixth casino site in Maryland and lowers the taxes that the casinos will pay to the state.


Less than three months before the election, it is really hard to gauge public opinion on these measures, and one of the most interesting things to come out of our election here will be their fate. It will also be interesting to see what groups mobilize to support or oppose any of these measures, and how much money groups are willing to spend to promote their views on the various questions.


There is a lot to be decided this November, and there is also a lot to be decided by the legislature next winter. Keep your eyes open and your hands on your wallets.


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