With Martin O’Malley as governor, I’m afraid the answer is yes.
Brian Griffiths at Red Maryland questioned why the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission, which was created as part of the 2007 Special Session, suddenly decided to begin meeting and taking public testimony in the wake of the election – where were they over the last several months, he asks.
In part this is thanks to a bill introduced last year which changed the original law and decreed the MBTRC has to complete its work by the end of this year, so the accelerated pace may be a natural outgrowth of that prospect.
But Griffiths naturally assumes that Martin O’Malley is going to use whatever they say as a pretense to club Maryland businesses with a tax increase. After all, if O’Malley wins he’s a lame duck who’s going to spend the latter half of his second term attempting to position himself as a contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, whether as successor to Barack Obama or challenger to a Republican president.
Of course, one selling point for him will be the shape Maryland is in when he leaves office and he’s extremely fortunate to have the job creation machine of the seat of federal government right next door. Is is any wonder the battleground of this election is MoCo and PG County? What happens to the the areas of Maryland outside the I-95 corridor will be barely noted and not long remembered by the MOM spin machine. We don’t need those icky chicken farms in our state anyway.
But as long as the federal government is hiring, it places businesses in a position where they have to grin and bear whatever tax increases are created just as long as they can access a relatively affluent market in MoCo and PG. It’s the rest of the state, particularly the areas close by state borders, where employers will be effectively told to pound sand.
Of course, there won’t be a need for a Special Session this time around because O’Malley won’t have the surplus he was handed in 2007 to cushion his first budget. They’ll get right to work in January attempting to chisel more revenue out of the state’s producers and redistribute it to the illegals and so-called working families. (That term only seems to apply if the worker toils in a union shop – all others need not apply.)
I’m not going to say that things will be easy if Bob Ehrlich wins – that is unless we have an unprecendented shift in the General Assembly which would see the GOP gain 34 House seats and 10 Senate seats to place themselves in the majority for the first time in, well, ever. But at least Maryland businesses would have a fighting chance.