Under the bus?

Yes, I’m back to local political posts on the Maryland side over here. I’ve been a pretty good boy on my Substack about keeping it issue-based but once in awhile I need to point out the anamolies of races. It’s also an experiment because I’ve been having website issues here – another reason I’m relocating to Substack, because I don’t have time to chase down which version of PHP works properly with my plugins because my server is updating.

As you likely know, I keep tabs on the Indivisible movement, including what passes for a local one. And as you may expect, they’re involved in influencing the Wicomico County election with their segment of the traveling roadshow, so named as the base of the eight-twelve activists who would loudly object to whatever Andy Harris said at any local townhall meeting. They tried to look “grassroots” but it was always the same people. Anyway…

They’re attempting to phone bank for the upcoming election for a number of candidates. Of course, it’s predictable that they’re pushing for Wes “for less freedom” Moore for governor, Heather “Mazeur” (sic) for Congress, Brooke Lierman for Comptroller, and local school board Democrats, but they have a couple other interesting names in their push: Muir Boda for Wicomico County Executive and re-electing John Cannon to County Council. Wait a minute, aren’t those guys those eeeeeeevil Republicans?

Well, in Boda’s case the answer is “not anymore,” as he left the Wicomico GOP about the same time I did and rejoined the Libertarian Party. Now he’s the senior of the two elected Libertarians in Maryland, although he was initially elected in a non-partisan election for Salisbury City Council while still in the GOP, so party affiliation wasn’t an issue. On the other hand, Cannon has been a well-known moderate Republican for many years, seeking his fourth (non-consecutive) term on County Council. His website claims he “represents a strong conservative voice for Wicomico County,” but his voting record suggests otherwise.

But it’s not like Democrats had abandoned those races: County Council member Ernest Davis is the Democrat candidate for County Executive, and the Democrats nominated Brad Gillis and Meagan Outten for the County Council at-large seats held by Cannon and Bill McCain, a Democrat who didn’t seek re-election. So I wonder why they were thrown under the bus by the Indivisible regressives? As a matter of fact, Gillis was endorsed by Regressive Maryland while Outten tops him by getting both Regressive Maryland and the Lower Shore Regressive Caucus to endorse her. Is this a head fake to cut into Cannon’s Republican support?

And since any Republican would be questioned for doing this, and what’s good for the goose is sauce for the gander: what is it about Wicomico’s minority community that leads you to ignore the person of color running? Or is it just another ploy to pick off a few GOP votes? Something tells me their target audience in this call scheme is the unaffiliated voter.

Wicomico County is a microcosm of the state in that an outsider conservative Republican won the primary over the establishment choice. But instead of the GOP closing ranks as was always expected of conservatives when a RINO won – the “party over everything” camp – a lot of the establishment crew is leaving the conservatives dry. For example, in the case of former Red Maryland stalwart Brian Griffiths, it’s led to an alliance with the Libertarians in both races. (Perhaps it’s worthy to note that both Muir Boda and state Libertarian nominee for governor David Lashar were at one point members of the GOP. Lashar formerly worked in the Hogan administration for a time.) I suppose party loyalty only goes so far with that crew.

Oh, on another note: I got a text asking me whether I supported Lee Murphy or Lisa Blunt Rochester in my Congressional race.

“This is Ryan with Political Research 2022. Will you please participate in our poll for Delaware’s US House Representative? Please let us know who you support.

  • Reply (1) for Lee Murphy (R)
  • Reply (2) for Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)
  • Reply (3) for Undecided.

Of course, racist sexist me responded 1. (This despite the fact there are actually 4 people in the race, which includes Libertarian Cody McNutt and Non-Partisan David Rogers.)

And you know me…I had to do a search for the number and name of the group. What came up was a radically left-wing group that states as part of its mission:

While threats to human and civil rights may come from any direction, the most robust opposition over the past few decades has emerged from the U.S. Right, which routinely employs harmful scapegoating and clever slogans that oversimplify complex policy issues. PRA counters with reliable analysis, looking beneath the sound-bites to expose the true agendas of right-wing leaders, institutions, and ideologies.

“About” Political Research Associates.

I can’t say for sure it was these guys, but it wouldn’t surprise me they’re looking to see how racist, bigoted, homophobic Slower Lower Delaware is. Chances are I’ll vote for Lee but it’s not because LBR is black or a woman, it’s because she’s way left of me.

Tax, tax, tax, tax, tax!

To some, the size of government simply can’t be large enough to redistribute wealth to those they consider “disadvantaged.” Take the group Progressive Maryland, which I prefer to refer to as Regressive Maryland. In either case, they’ve once again combined with the supposedly nonpartisan Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute to produce their annual “State of Working Maryland” report describing their wet dream of social architecture and handouts to those they deem deserving.

In their report, they gasp that, “(t)he danger Maryland faces is that most of the gains of the economic recovery will flow to the wealthiest Marylanders.” Isn’t that generally the way those who assume the most risk by investing capital are rewarded? Meanwhile, they also complain that, “(m)ajor deficit reduction should not be on the table until the recovery is firmly on track, that is, until unemployment has dropped and is on a downward trajectory.” So we are supposed to place our children and grandchildren into deeper debt because economic conditions aren’t very good? Well, the problem seems to be that our vast debt is leading to the economic doldrums, folks! How much money shoveled at the problem is enough?

Among the number of charts and graphs enclosed in the report, I found the “Maryland Job Count in Selected Industries” bar chart on page 9 fascinating. It seems Maryland’s growth industries over the last three years are (wait for it) education, health services, and – of course – government! Conversely, those taking the biggest hit over that period are manufacturing and construction. Isn’t that what they want, more government workers? This should be paradise!

But the last five pages of the report are where the rubber meets the road – they need to pay for their grandiose schemes somehow. Their wish list includes digging into the pockets of Maryland people and corporations doing business in the state to the tune of nearly $3 billion. (Consider that the state’s portion of our annual budget – not including monies passed down from the federal government – runs around $13 billion.) Apparently the pointy heads who created this report feel that working Marylanders need to cough up a little more.

These are some of the taxation schemes they’re trying to enact, with the amount they are hoping to raise:

  • Extend the ‘millionaire’s tax’ which expires at midnight tonight for another three years, to raise between $70 and $90 million. That is, it would if any millionaires remain in the state – many have already fled to more tax-friendly places.
  • The ‘dime-a-drink’ tax on alcohol. They actually quizzed candidates on this one; unfortunately, those who favored raising the tax tended to win at the ballot box (many were unopposed.) So those who like their Bud longnecks, their glass of white Zinfandel, or shot of Southern Comfort will be helping the state supposedly raise over $200 million. Way to tax the poor and middle class.
  • Raising the gasoline tax by 15 cents a gallon to raise $450 million. The idea is twofold: get people to drive less and perhaps clamor for more mass transit. That’s not working here on the Shore; we just take it in the shorts. The same people who scream about oil companies making maybe 4 cents a gallon profit are the ones who want to deduct an extra buck or two on each tankful (on top of the 23 1/2 cents a gallon they already charge) because it’s been 18 years since the tax was raised. So? For some people it’s been 18 years since they could afford a new car, and this won’t help them a bit.
  • Combined reporting for corporations will supposedly raise between $92 and $144 million, based on 2007 numbers. Of course, the numbers for 2008 weren’t as favorable for the group so they didn’t use them, claiming the year was an anomaly because it “reflects a low level of profits at the depth of the recession.” Well, guess what – driving business out of the state is going to keep us in a recession. If Maryland adopts combined reporting, business will find another loophole. Trust me on this. Even the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission, a body mainly hand-picked by the Governor and other Democrats, couldn’t support this turkey.
  • And now the biggie – expand the scope of the sales tax to include more services, for “Maryland taxes 39 of 168 services included in FTA’s survey of all states.” Yes, only 39 of 168 – that simply won’t do for them. This could raise up to $2 billion. Of course, they’re concerned about “(t)axation of basic household services (which) would disproportionately burden low-income households” but obviously they don’t give a crap about the average working family who will get hammered every time they order a pizza or pay their cable bill.

Of these five, I give the best odds of General Assembly passage to the ‘dime-a-drink’ tax, followed by the ‘millionaire’s tax’, expansion of the sales tax to services and the gas tax increase. I think the General Assembly will heed the advice of the MBTRC and not consider the combined business tax this year, and the gas tax will be a tough sell because pump prices have surged dramatically since this summer. This is confounding experts who usually see prices decline once the summer driving season ends and refineries can revert back to a less expensive blend of gasoline that’s not formulated to fight smog.

Given the 133-55 advantage Democrats have in the General Assembly and our re-electing a governor who won’t say no if the General Assembly passes a tax increase, it’s pretty much a fait accompli we will be stuck with at least one of these increases, if not more. That’s why elections matter, and the fact that many Free Staters are tapped out doesn’t matter to many of those who were elected last month.

It’s not the tone I would have preferred to end the year with, but things are what they are. Since this is almost certainly my swan song post for 2010 (unless something really major happens and I can somehow update from my phone) I hope you all have a happy and prosperous new year in 2011 – despite the best efforts of liberals everywhere.

O’Malley under pressure to drive jobs out of Maryland

I don’t need to be as shrill as the people at Progressive Regressive Maryland who want to drive more jobs out of the state by adopting combined reporting for business taxation purposes.

In the category of it’s always advantageous to see what your enemy is up to, I got this advisory from them last night regarding today’s meeting of the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission:

Gov. O’Malley’s Under Pressure from Out-of-State Corporations to Save Their Loophole to Pay NO TAX…CALL HIM NOW…to “Save, Don’t Cave on Combined Reporting; Md. Needs the Hundreds of Millions!”  

Tuesday 2:00 pm, The Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission meets to decide the fate of combined reporting, a vital tax-fairness reform Progressive Maryland has fought for as a high priority for years.

Two weeks after Maryland voters re-elected Gov. Martin O’Malley, with significant help from progressive Maryland and allies, he is under great pressure from politically powerful corporations based out-of-state, who pay NO STATE INCOME TAX, to kill the one vital reform that would close the unfair loophole that lets them get off free.

Call…and leave a message – “Don’t cave to corporate lobbyists.” 

In the past, Governor O’Malley has been a vocal supporter of combined reporting, a reform that would help create a level playing field for Maryland businesses trying to compete with big multi-state corporations and bring in hundreds of millions in lost revenue for our schools, health care, and other vital services.

But right now, corporate lobbyists are trying to get Governor O’Malley to do their bidding and stop this reform…and we hear that it might be working. O’Malley’s appointees on the commission will decide whether to follow the lead of 23 other states and recommend combined reporting to our legislature, or to cave in to corporate pressure and let it die in committee.

Taken another way, we can follow the lead of 26 other states (most of which are probably employing a much higher percentage of residents in the private sector than Maryland is) and scrap the idea of combined reporting.

It’s also worthy of note that the Progressive Regressive Maryland says O’Malley favors this idea. Yet he’s politically savvy enough to figure out that it’s a loser if he pushes strongly for it himself, so he has his own version of a “blue-ribbon commission” to push the blame to if they recommend the tax code change (which they will) and it passes the Democratic-controlled Maryland General Assembly (which it probably will since the next election is a safe distance away.)

And it’s a funny thing about the projected “hundreds of millions” in revenues the group claims is waiting to happen if combined reporting comes to pass. Seems like every time the state counts on revenue magically appearing thanks to a tax increase, the number comes up short – imagine that! How much of that revenue will be spent on additional unemployment benefits to help the workers tossed out of work by increasing the tax burden on certain employers?

Nor is it pointed out by our liberal friends that businesses do not pay taxes – consumers do. They’ll pass along the increased costs to their customers, making our state that much less competitive at the retail level. All around, this isn’t a smart idea to embark on such a course in a time of recession (and pretty dumb during times of plenty as well.)

So go ahead and call (410) 974-3901 – apparently it’s a line into the Governor’s office. Tell him combined reporting is a bad idea and a killer of Maryland jobs. Remind him the unemployment rate has doubled on his watch, so just because he made sure his voter base turned out doesn’t mean we the people of Maryland support making the state even more business-unfriendly.