From Del. Kathy Szeliga:
Hello and welcome to another Szeliga Weekly Update! This week in Annapolis was very busy with a lot of debate around the gas tax. In this edition, I will address the gas tax, the induction of Ellen Sauerbrey and Helen Delich Bentley to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, and a summary of the Firearms Town Hall held this past weekend.
MARYLAND WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Last night, I had the honor and privilege of introducing The Honorable Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey as she was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Sauerbrey was a State Delegate who was the first woman to be elected Minority Leader in the General Assembly. Sauerbrey went on to be appointed our US representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Sauerbrey was then appointed Assistant Secretary of State where she served under Condoleezza Rice in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Ambassador Sauerbrey made significant contributions to improving the lives of women and refugees world-wide and has received numerous awards for her good work.
Currently, Ellen is the Co-Chair of the Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG) group. She is also still involved in international women’s issues and mentoring many, including myself. I affectionately refer to Ellen Sauerbrey as my Fairy Godmother!
Congresswoman Bentley served in the United States House of Representatives from 1985 to 1995. During her time in Congress, she focused on federal maritime issues and on trade policies in favor of U.S. manufacturing. In 2006, Governor Bob Ehrlich renamed the Port of Baltimore after Rep. Bentley. The port is now known as the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. Helen has also made significant contributions to Maryland and continues to be involved politically. Helen is a no-nonsense gal who is still helping keep the Port of Baltimore vibrant and growing.
Both women have been inspirational figures in Maryland and I extend my warmest congratulations to them for their induction into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame!
GAS TAX UPDATE
I had a good quote on Fox 45 this week in an article about the gas tax – click here to read
Following is is a Letter to the Editor that I submitted to the Baltimore Sun regarding Governor O’Malley’s Gas Tax increase. This bill unfortunately passed out of the House of Delegates today. I voted NO.
O’Malley’s Eternal Legacy in MD – A Gas Tax Forevermore
The Governor’s gas tax proposal reminds me of the Chevy Volt: over-priced, heavily subsidized by taxpayers, pushed by liberal ideas, underutilized, and recalled because of design flaws.
To date, the Governor has increased spending on mass transit to the highest levels in Maryland’s history. Simultaneously, he has committed the lowest percentage of funding to roads and highways. Pushing a mass transit agenda on unwilling riders over the last seven years has increased ridership by merely 1%. Commuters prefer driving, 91.2% use vehicles. This gas tax proposal is about finding funds to expand mass transit even further with the red line, the purple line and the corridor line.
The gas tax bill was introduced late and rushed through the House of Delegates. The complicated legislation restructures the taxing methods for gas, has a fake lock box for transportation funding, and includes even more studies on mass transit. The gas tax passed out of the House of Delegates on Friday. I voted no.
Most egregious of all is the provision to automatically increase the gas tax annually. The bill ties the gas tax to an automatic inflator: the Consumer Price Index. A tax that automatically increases without making elected officials take a vote is tyrannical. It eliminates a core component of democracy: lawmakers’ accountability to our citizens each and every time they want to raise taxes.
A feel good and fake “lock box” for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) is also part of the measure. Genuine concern for protecting special funds is absent. There are no plans to repay the transferred $1 billion that was supposed to go to our local roads and highways. Again, this is more empty promises from Annapolis.
Finally, the Department of Transportation has been without an appointed leader since the Secretary left last summer and there is no nominee in process now. Appointed leadership over this huge department that should be driving this issue is vacant. It certainly looks like more hollow campaign rhetoric just to pave the road to the White House for ambitious politicians.
While the Chevy Volt will not be remembered by our children and grandchildren, O’Malley’s annual gas tax increases will. This is not a legacy we want for the next generation. If you want to put the brakes on this terrible proposal, call your senator or the governor.
FIREARMS TOWN HALL
This past Saturday, Delegates Aumann, Impallaria, McDonough and Boteler, along with Congressmen Andy Harris and I hosted a firearms town hall at the Parkton American Legion. Hundreds of concerned constituents turned out to voice their opinions. It was a great success with a lot of good dialogue from citizens. Check out a video highlighting important moments from the town hall at this YouTube link:
Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions or if I can be of assistance to you and your family.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming my way.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga