Another depressing addition
I almost hate to be the bearer of this bad news, but hopefully the word will spread and be a wake-up call for a state where wallets are being plundered and freedoms eroded: Change Maryland is just now out with a new listing of taxes.
I actually had a chance to check out an advance copy of this scary reading, with the Change Maryland release excerpted below:
Change Maryland released today an updated list of tax, fee and toll increases enacted under the O’Malley Administration. This latest report shows 32 increases that remove $2.3 billion out of the economy annually and includes only measures that have been enacted. As final passage of increasing motor fuel taxes and offshore wind resulting in higher utility bills appear imminent, the list is a reminder of the ever-increasing amount struggling Marylanders are being asked to pay for the big-government ambitions of politicians.
Fully sourced using Department of Legislative Services analysis, executive branch budget documents and fiscal notes from bills, the list is the only comprehensive analysis of what Marylanders are paying in levies over and above existing taxes and fees since 2007.
“This will not be a slide in the Governor’s power point presentations,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. We’re finding yet again, it’s time to pull the curtain back on this Administration. Elected officials and bureaucrats don’t want their tax, fee and toll increases to be public and understandable, so we did it for them in the interest of promoting fiscal responsibility and transparency.”
The group went on to detail a year-by-year, blow-by-blow rendering of all the additional taxes and fees we are subjected to, and added:
The General Assembly’s presiding officers and the Governor are making a unified push in 2013 to raise motor fuel taxes and to pay for offshore wind by increasing utility bills to customers. Change Maryland will footnote those proposals as they work through the legislative process and add those in another list to be released separately. The grassroots organization periodically updates this list based on newly-discovered measures often buried in legislation and counts separate revenue-raising components individually when they are rolled into omnibus legislation.
“It’s hard to believe but they’re not even done yet,” said Hogan.”The Governor and his enablers in the legislature are asking for even more tax increases in the next few weeks, This may very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. One-party monopoly rule is just too expensive. We need balance and a healthy and competitive two party system. The taxpayers of Maryland have had enough.”
Bear in mind that the state’s budget has surged by nearly a third since Martin O’Malley took over in 2007; although he likes to speak about phantom “cuts” made in the state’s spending docket, the fact is that we spend more dollars now in 2013 than we did in 2007 when Governor O’Malley took over. The increases outstrip the state’s population growth and the rate of inflation.
Moreover, several conversations and speakers I’ve heard over the past few days allude to the fact that a significant portion (up to 40 percent) of Maryland’s budget comes from the federal government. The gentleman I spoke to for Ten Question Tuesday, in particular, has some eye-opening assessments of Maryland’s economy on tap – it may be a considerable struggle for the state to maintain its breakneck spending pace; meanwhile, Free State residents are staring down the barrel of tax and fee increases #33, #34, #35, and perhaps #36 as explained below in previous recent Change Maryland releases, beginning with Change Maryland’s Larry Hogan on offshore wind:
With a proposed motor fuel tax increase this year and several years of raising taxes on everything else, now is not the time to experiment on unproven energy sources with other people’s money. Once again, the priorities of our top elected officials are not aligned with regular, working people who overwhelmingly reject any further tax increases.
This offshore wind scheme requires a tax to make it possible. The private sector does not get to tax people to experiment with projects and with very few exceptions neither should government. This will be a huge waste – assuming anything gets built at all. Governor O’Malley has been focused on increasing the cost of electricity and gasoline for struggling Maryland families and small businesses. He has now accomplished half his goal, and is working hard to increase the cost of gas in Maryland to the highest in the region.
That’s increase number 33. But as Larry alluded to, the gasoline tax passed in the House of Delegates last week:
A proposal as unpopular as this one must be hidden from public view and carefully timed to avoid news cycles. In fact, this proposal is so unpopular that the Governor announced it in the evening, the first hearings were held on a Friday afternoon the same day as the death penalty vote, House passage is on a Friday afternoon, and final votes are taking place in the closing weeks of this legislative session.
Just as unpopular is Governor O’Malley’s record of raising taxes and fees. There are currently 32 enacted measures that remove $2.3 billion out of the economy annually. Marylanders are now faced with the prospect of paying another $800 million on top of the $2.3 billion a year we’re already paying in new taxes if this passes the Senate without substantive changes from the Governor’s proposal.
Hogan also bashed the gas tax for its effect on rural areas.
Committee leaders provided yet another platform for the big county executives, who time and again have pleaded for more revenues that help their urban areas. Missing from this were elected officials from rural parts of the state. Instead, we heard the tired argument that we need more transportation money to attract the FBI headquarters to Prince George’s County. Here we go again – relying on the federal government instead of putting in place policies that attract Fortune 500 companies and small businesses back to our state. Moreover, nobody at the FBI is conditioning the move on Maryland increasing gasoline taxes, and this argument is simply pathetic.
I know Larry lives somewhere on the Western Shore, but I’m glad to see he’s alert to the War on Rural Maryland those of us who choose to live out here have to deal with.
And, if you’re keeping score (I’m sure they are) the gasoline tax increase counts as three increases: not only will the gasoline tax increase, but there will be farebox increases for those who use mass transit and a $3.50 increase in vehicle registration fees. So there you have increases 34 through 36.
It would be one thing if Maryland spent its money wisely, but we really don’t. I was going to write that an interesting case study would be one figuring out what state spends the most per capita, but I found out to my pleasure someone beat me to it. It’s data three years old, but as you can see Maryland was higher than the norm then and it’s doubtful we’re closer now. Just bringing spending down to the nationwide per-person average would save Maryland taxpayers about $4 billion annually – wiping out the extent of O’Malley’s tax increases each year and, even better, allowing its citizens to direct economic growth to where the market leads it rather than have it foisted upon us.
Perhaps with a new Republican team at the top in Annapolis come 2015, we can rebuild the state’s economy to one not so dependent on the largess of Uncle Sam. When the federal bubble bursts, we don’t want to be the ones who have to clean up the mess.