Since my e-mail box is filling up with items I’ve been meaning to get to and I spent part of my day today cleaning out our garage, it’s in that spirit that I present to you yet another heaping helping of items I figure are worth a couple paragraphs or so.
First of all, it seems our newly elected friend up Cecil County way, County Executive Tari Moore, is just getting everyone mad at her. Cecil County GOP head Chris Zeauskas chastised the woman he called “whichever way the wind blows” Moore for appointing Winston Robinson as her finance director. Robinson was a loser in the Democratic primary for the post Moore now holds but has lengthy experience in the financial field, according to the Cecil Whig. Zeauskas also blasted Moore for not hiring either one of two people who she presumably passed up for the appointment: county treasurer Bill Feehley and budget manager Craig Whiteford. Both are Republicans.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Liberty is raking Moore over the coals for promising to appoint a person to run economic development in Cecil County. Their point is that:
Businesses and individuals build our economy, not government officials.
The idea that we need more bureaucrats to help those in the private sector to navigate red tape is proposterous. (sic)
Why not eliminate the onerous regulations that businesses face and eliminate the “need” to hire a government employee?
In a Cecil Whig news article, Tari Moore “promised to create a business advocate position to create incentives and work with businesses to create jobs in Cecil County.”
The key here is provision of incentives. Why should government have the authority to pick winners and losers in the market place?
Why should county government be giving your hard-earned tax dollars to private companies?
Every time the government uses your tax dollars to give hand outs to private businesses, it distorts and inhibits a truly free market.
It seems to me that both of these parties make valid arguments, particularly the Campaign for Liberty. However, I suspect in the Zeauskas case that if Moore hadn’t changed her registration the Republican Central Committee would have invoked the Eleventh Commandment and remained silent about the Robinson pick. The Campaign for Liberty knows no such thing and will just as readily skewer a Republican as it would a Democrat.
In fact, the C4L goes a little farther, calling on Moore to defund all economic development programs because:
Taxpayers in Cecil County have been forced year after year to give millions of dollars to county run economic development programs.
Yet, over the past two decades Cecil County has had the highest unemployment rate in the region.
By returning the money spent on these programs back to taxpayers we can start to create some real economic growth in our county.
Rather than taking potshots at a decision Tari Moore made simply because the group is upset about a change in partisan affiliation, at least the C4L has a basis in fact that perhaps another direction is needed for economic development. The data doesn’t mean that having an ineffective economic development department is the cause of the issue (since many of the peer counties are in other states, which have their own set of advantages) but could be a factor to consider going forward.
And at the moment the liberty movement in Maryland is feeling its oats, based on the glowing report I received from Maryland Liberty PAC head Patrick McGrady about their hospitality suite at the recent convention:
Our Maryland Liberty Caucus event had more visitors than any other event, by far. Not only were we able to rally our own troops to attend, but we met many new allies and friends who want to fight side-by-side with us in Maryland.
On the other hand, McGrady was blunt in his assessment of the political scene:
Although we met many old and new friends on Friday, we also came away with a very clear conclusion: the Political Establishment in Maryland is strong and will not go away easily. These people are addicted to power and are sell-outs to the conservative cause.
These Big Government Republicans and Democrats are destroying our liberties and burdening us with over-the-top wasteful spending.
Tell me something I hadn’t figured out already, Patrick. We’ve been fighting that battle off and on since I joined the Central Committee in 2006. Unfortunately, we have way too many Republicans who go along to get along in Annapolis.
Another Pat, Delegate Pat McDonough, bemoans the “Radical Blue” nature of Maryland politics in a recent release:
The dynamic of the voting power in Maryland probably ensures there may never be another statewide Democrat office holder from Baltimore after O’Malley, Cardin, and Mikulski have moved on. The Baltimore area voters have become captive step-children to the massive voting power of the Washington, D.C. suburbs. Baltimore’s “radical blue” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presides over an urban landscape beset by murder, muggings, economic stagnation and a dim future. She suffers no real opposition, except possibly from another “radical blue” political challenger. The diversity of electoral politics or public policy is non-existent in Charm City.
All doubt about this growing power was removed when the 7 questions on the ballot achieved a solid victory created by a deluge of votes from the D.C. suburbs. The problem is compounded by the fact that the two major press organs dominating Maryland, the Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, both reflect the “radical blue” philosophy in their editorial and reporting practices. They are enablers, not objective journalists.
I would prefer that a neither a Baltimore-based Democrat nor a Democrat based in the Washington suburbs see statewide elected office again after the way both of those groups have ruined a once-fine state. The “landscape beset by…economic stagnation and a dim future” is the state of Maryland as it stands now. So why is Delegate McDonough conceding this ground?
Be that as it may, McDonough later makes the point that the wealthy in Maryland are “voting with their feet” and leaving the state. However, a recent decision by the IRS pointed out to me by Jim Pettit means these changes will be harder to track:
(T)he IRS Statistics of Income Division attributes the decision to cancel the program, which dates back to 1991, to coordination issues with the U.S. Census Bureau. There is no official word yet on why the program was cancelled.
Pettit also stated:
The IRS tax migration data is the best indicator we have of how state and local governments are doing in developing their tax base. If there is no effective way to monitor changes in the tax base in the context of macro-economic trends, then state and local governments are at a severe disadvantage in making key legislative, regulatory and fiscal policies that address the challenges of funding government budgets.
This data was a key cudgel used by the advocacy group Change Maryland to point out the multiple failures of Martin O’Malley’s economic program for the state of Maryland. Now we’ll be down to anecdotal evidence of people leaving Maryland and seeking states more friendly to their economic interests.
Soon the transport industry may follow, as it’s all but certain the General Assembly will once again consider a gas tax when they reconvene next month and may even try to work out a mileage tax as part of their “War on Rural Maryland.” But I’m putting that cart ahead of the horse a little farther than Americans for Prosperity is by setting up their opposition to a gas tax via petition. (Of course, it also builds up a healthier e-mail list.)
Let’s just hope Republicans stay unified in opposition to a gas tax this time around, mmmmmmkay?
Another tax which stands a good chance of being increased yet again is the cigarette tax, but Marc Kilmer of MPPI punctures a hole in the logic of the Baltimore Sun and lobbyist Vinnie DeMarco in his usual clear, level-headed way. It’s worth a read since the cigarette tax increase proposal is another of those Maryland General Assembly rites of spring.
Taxes are also on the mind of national politicians thanks to the closeness of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” But a coalition of nineteen conservative groups called on Congress to “…reject tax increases, refocus negotiations on spending cuts and entitlement reform, where they belong, and send a strong signal to Americans they can count on their elected representatives to look out for them in the upcoming budget negotiations.” But that would require members of Congress to exhibit some backbone, which is in short supply inside the Beltway.
I could go on but you get the idea. Despite the holiday season, politics doesn’t seem to take a break and vigilance is always required.