Fresh off a shellacking where their statewide standard-bearer had his doors blown off locally by 30 points and only two of their eleven state race contenders won – one by just 30 votes locally and the other in an ostensibly non-partisan race – the Wicomico County Democratic Party finds itself in somewhat desperate financial straits. So in order to raise a little money, the party is making some claims which have to be seen to be believed – and I’m going to show you.
Let’s go through this a little bit at a time, shall we?
Maryland voters decided to “Change Maryland” last November, with the election of Larry Hogan as Governor. However, with only a month in office, Hogan is already proving himself to be just another Tea party Republican.
Perhaps the idea was to indeed elect a TEA Party Republican, rather than four more years of the O’Malley/Brown debacle? We certainly were due for a change.
And as far as the TEA Party goes, it’s worth recalling that TEA is actually an acronym that stands for “Taxed Enough Already.” We heard for three-plus years about all the tax increases put in place by the O’Malley/Brown administration so people naturally decided enough was enough.
But they continue:
Here are just a few of his first actions:
- Slashing education funding – $1.9 Million from Wicomico County alone
- Recklessly raiding over $2.5 Billion from our Transportation funding
- Eliminating programs that help to keep the Bay clean
Apparently I’m supposed to take their word about these so-called cuts, since there’s no context or backup information provided.
I will not profess to be an expert on the state budget; however, I did look under public education and on all three line items I found for Wicomico County:
- “compensatory education funds to local school systems based on Free and Reduced Priced Meal Eligibility counts” goes from $37,322,878 actual in 2014 to $38,615,082 for 2015 estimated – an increase of $1,292,204.
- “additional support for students with limited English proficiency” goes from $3,092,879 actual in 2014 to $3,407,287 for 2015 estimated – an increase of $314,408.
- the automatic supplement to counties “which have less than 80 percent of the statewide average wealth per pupil” goes from $3,670,117 actual in 2014 to $4,579,323 for 2015 estimated – an increase of $909,206.
By my count that’s an increase of $2,515,818. It appears the Hogan administration is well taking care of those things it needs to, prioritizing at a time when the state had to address a $750 million structural deficit.
I still haven’t figured out where the $2.5 billion “raid” to transportation funding is – the repeal of the automatic gas tax increase would save consumers nearly $1.56 billion over the next five fiscal years. We know Democrats own tax increases, so perhaps they bemoan that “lost” revenue to the state.
As for the elimination of programs for the Bay, I’d like to know precisely what they are referring to. They’re getting the PMT regulations so they should be happy.
Anyway, let’s continue.
And the story is the same in Wicomico County where Larry Hogan’s Tea Party partner, Bob Culver, is becoming the anti-education County Executive by refusing to fund a new building to replace the clearly antiquated West Salisbury Elementary School and scraping (sic) completion of the Bennett High School athletic complex.
Obviously the WCDCC has little concept of debt service. It would be one thing if the county could reach into its pocket and fish out $40 million for a new elementary school but the idea of pulling out the county’s credit card to put yet another multi-million dollar expenditure on it doesn’t appeal to the new County Executive. Just like they did in electing Larry Hogan, county voters wanted a change in direction from the former administration.
Instead, the county will improve the school in the areas where the need is greatest, with the list compiled through a consultation with experts and school officials. It may not be the “new” West Salisbury Elementary, but it will be an improved one. Perhaps that approach would have saved the county a lot of money with the former Bennett High School.
As for the Bennett Middle situation, completion of the athletic fields would not be “scrapped” (as the letter should have said) but simply placed in a different area of the site. The former Bennett Middle would be repurposed for office space, allowing the opportunity for the county to consolidate some of its operations. The change still needs the approval of County Council.
Picking back up, with the sad trumpet appeal for funding:
This isn’t the change I voted for in November, and I know you didn’t vote for this, either. We need your help to fight back. We cannot elect more Democrats in 2018 without your support over the next four years. Every dollar you donate to the Wicomico Democratic Central Committee goes to funding our efforts to recruit and help good local candidates.
Most importantly, your donation goes to helping us communicate our party’s values to the voters… personal responsibility, educating all of our children, cleaning up the Bay, protecting our agricultural community, equality for ALL, supporting local businesses, and protecting the Middle Class… and we need your support!
Actually, I did vote for some of this change. Unfortunately, I couldn’t change enough members of the General Assembly to make the total difference that’s needed – although my personal representation in the House of Delegates got a whole lot better.
But if the WCDCC wants to elect more Democrats in 2018, those Democrats can’t be in the tax-and-spend, socially liberal mode. Not in this county.
And after reading that Democrat screed, I realized it’s really conservatives who advocate for all those things the Democrats claim to stand for. That’s not to say a Democrat can’t be conservative but they are fewer and further between, even in this area.
So how would I, as a conservative, respond to their letter? I’ll go through what they claim to represent.
We believe that personal responsibility begins with keeping more of the money you earn by taking advantage of the opportunities a capitalist system creates.
We believe that money should follow the child so you can choose the best educational opportunity for your children, whether in public or private school or through a homeschooling regimen.
We believe in cleaning up the Bay through a balanced approach, beginning by addressing a proven detriment in Conowingo Dam and not punishing farmers who have been trying their best to address the issue.
We believe in protecting the agricultural community by allowing farmers the option to do as they wish with their land, not arbitrarily shutting off development options to them.
We believe in equality for all, not discriminating for or against anyone. But we also know our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values which have stood the test of time.
We support local businesses by allowing them more freedom to do what’s productive and less time to have to deal with governmental edict and regulation. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we want to encourage them to grow and prosper for the community’s sake, not as a cash cow.
We want to protect and grow the middle class – not at the expense of the upper classes, but by allowing the conditions where those on lower rungs of the economic ladder can climb their way up through hard work and ingenuity.
The jury is still out on this, but I think all the Democrats have is rhetoric. We will have to keep an eye on the GOP to make sure they deliver the results their philosophy should yield.
So if you are a local Democrat who received this letter, there’s only one thing to do: go to the Board of Elections and request the change of registration form to become a Republican. It may be your best chance to influence election results in the future.