While it isn’t unprecedented, it is rare that I open up monoblogue to guest opinion. This is the case today, though, as Marc Kilmer of the Maryland Public Policy Institute counters the argument made by Wicomico County PIO Jim Fineran in a recent Daily Times opinion.
As Mr. Pollitt’s public spokesman, Jim Fineran is paid to put a positive spin on his boss’s proposal to raise our property tax rate. However, I’d caution anyone from mistaking the apathetic public response to Pollitt’s tax hike proposal for approval.
Yes, the people who showed up at the budget meetings generally spoke in favor of a tax hike. Government programs have concentrated benefits and diffused costs. Those who use programs are few and focused; those who pay for them are many and inattentive. Of course people who are benefiting from taxpayer largesse are going to rally when their favored programs are threatened.
During last year’s election, however, a large number of people spoke when they cast their ballots. They elected six very strong fiscal conservatives to the county council. Mr. Pollitt barely won a second term. Mr. Pollitt’s re-election was no doubt aided by the fact that last year he didn’t propose raising the tax rate even though the revenue cap would have allowed it. Now that it’s not an election year, Mr. Pollitt is certainly singing a different tune.
The results of the 2010 elections indicate a majority in Wicomico County supports low taxes. They may be silent at budget meetings but they speak loudly at election time. If our county council members stay true to the fiscally conservative message they advocated during the election, they should know that the people of Wicomico County support them.
Marc Kilmer is a Maryland Public Policy Institute senior fellow specializing in health care issues. He and his family reside in Wicomico County.