From Harford County Government:
(Bel Air, MD) – Harford County Executive David R. Craig issued the following statement in response to Governor Martin O’Malley’s “State of the State” address:
The O’Malley Administration continues to speak of growing Maryland economy, expanding job opportunities and to strengthen Maryland’s middle class, yet his proposals threaten their very existence.
Although the focus of the O’Malley Administration is projected to be job creation by the choices he is asking the Maryland General Assembly to make this session, the reality is those choices will in fact take us backwards as we slowly try to recover from this economic crisis. During the past few years our country has dealt with one of the worst economic recessions in history, yet although we are still recovering from that dark period, the O’Malley Administration proposal for increases in certain fees, the income tax and implementing a sales tax on gasoline will not move Maryland forward, but instead stifle the promise of recovery and push Maryland families and businesses down a slippery slope to further economic uncertainty.
Increasing fees, raising taxes, especially a sales tax on gasoline will cripple Maryland’s already fragile economy and destroy the budgets of small businesses and hard working families, the backbone of America. While the gas tax is being promoted as a way to improve investments in key transportation projects, there is no safe guard to ensure that these proposed increases in funds will actually be directed to transportation and infrastructure needs.
Likewise, passing along teacher pensions to county governments to absorb when they are already strapped by other actions the state and federal government has taken is not only unfair, but unwise and without merit. For decades, local governments have shouldered the responsibility of funding local education while having to implement the unfunded mandates passed down from the Federal and State government. Sadly, as a local official, I have very little ability to demand accountability and oversight on education spending, yet, we are asked to shoulder the costs.
It is true there are no easy solutions the myriad of fiscal issues which confront our great state. However passing along the fiscal problems of the state to county and local governments as well as small businesses on Main Street does nothing to address the problem at its root – a government that spends beyond its means.
As County Executive of Harford County the past six years, I have been faced with a number of difficult fiscal decisions. Governing is not easy as it requires a leader to balance the divergent wants and needs of diverse community. However, my Administration has met these challenges head-on and conquered them.
We have lowered the tax burden on our citizens, trimmed our workforce, while continuing to provide quality service to the citizens we serve.
As County Executive I have had to make very tough decisions that keeps government living within a balanced budget each year, with no one to pass on my costs to. The State of Maryland should do the same and live within their means.
Additional taxes without serious reductions in government spending, or reform in how it operates is not what the people of Maryland want or deserve.
I strongly recommend the legislature reject the Governor’s proposal to increase fees, increase taxes and the pressure to pass along teacher pensions to the counties and do the job they were elected to do – make tough decisions to keep Maryland on the path to economic recovery and prosperity.
Our various governments, be they city, county, state or federal, are purely management entities, charged with the task of maintenance. They are like (and often are) corporate entities.
Normal corporate entities must show fiscal responsibility, or they cease to exist. They must be innovative, and provide value for money.
Our government entities, however, have abandoned all pretence of considering fiscal responsibility, believing, because history has told them that this is true, that all they need to do is require citizens to dig deeper into their pockets.
Furthermore, our state government does not consider some of the wider effects their tweaks to the taxation system can produce. An example is the increased sales tax on alcohol. Liquor stores and restaurants now have to account at two separate tax rates. This is a software and logistics nightmare, and most of these businesses have had to call in their software manufacturers to rig a change. Unfortunately, the money the establishments were forced to spend did not go into Maryland pockets, but to Redmond, Oregon, Mountain View, California, and Springfield, Virginia. The proposed increase in gas taxes will have a similar effect.
We are still in recession: the last thing any responsible government entity should do is increase taxes. Their perceived need to increase or create new taxes is because their existing tax revenue has fallen, reflecting the diminished income of the population. If the population has decreased income, increasing taxation has a double negative effect, and stunts any form of economic growth. In fact, it creates a self-destructive cycle, as incomes will diminish, therefore income and sales tax will diminish, creating demands for new or higher taxation.
The profligacy of our government is bewildering. Two stories broke recently in Cecil County.
“State Highway Administration officials informed the Cecil County commissioners last week that by the end of the summer a new, galvanized-steel center median barrier will separate eastbound and westbound lanes of Route 40.”
Anyone who has driven Route 40 through Cecil County knows that the median is wide, and the likelihood of a vehicle crossing that median is very low. Also consider, before I95 was opened, route 40 was the main road down the East Coast, and, even though traffic volumes were higher then, crash barriers were never a priority. When this was discussed with the county commissioners, they were told, “The construction of the barriers was mostly funded with federal, earmarked funds which could not be used for other projects.”
The second story relates to Port Deposit. The Maryland State Highway Administration has dedicated $1 million to fix drainage problems in Port Deposit.
Yes, Port Deposit has drainage problems, caused by rainwater coming down the granite cliffs behind the town. However, this is not a new problem; it has existed for about 200 years.
Bearing in mind that port Deposit has about 650 residents, that is over $1,500 per resident, and it’s all coming out of your taxation and tolls.
At this moment there should be NO increases in any form of taxation. The governments must learn to tailor their expenses to less than revenue, and work on creating a surplus.
This is not a political or partisan issue, it is a fact of life. Failure to reduce taxes, thereby increasing growth, can only result in a meltdown similar to the Greek, Portuguese and Irish economies.
This is, like, an acid trip gone horribly wrong! Help me, Obiwan Kenobi, you’re my last and only hope! Save us from the “fees – not – taxes”! Help us defeat the two-headed O’Malley – Obama monster!
Chris Evans says
Thank u for speaking out! U should run for governor
Pam Winnie says
Not to mention the proposed elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction for every homeowner in the state… another O’Malley home run idea.
ALEX R says
Craig can’t run for governor because he is a Republican. In the State of Maryland the Dem/Libs have decreed that no Republican can have any idea that is in disagreement with them. If they do, then the Republican by definition is a moron who is barely worthy of the air they breathe which, if not taxed now, will be soon. And the idea is utter nonsense, at least until the Dem/Libs wait for a few years and propose it themselves with fanfare that rivals the second coming of the Messiah. At that point the idea will be a stroke of genius. That is the unfortunate fact of life here in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland. All animals are equal but Comrades O’Malley, Busch and Miller are more equal.
I heard of his proposal on the radio,,,, Ever , just feel like slamming your fist down your owne throat????? The “Dems” just want to tax their way out of problems,,,, Enough, is Way to enough. Oh well,,so much for my lowered property tax asessment.
I do not trust either party. Both are big government and big corporation supporters. They just want big government for different reasons. We need smaller more effective government that is for competition and is new business and american worker friendly.
alex r says
Well you ain’t going to get it here in Maryland. Smaller and more effective government in Maryland? Never happen as long as the Dem/Libs are in power and only slightly better chance if we throw them out.