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From the Desk of
County Commissioner Blaine Young

(9/2012) I recently attended (at no cost to the taxpayer) the annual three day conference of the Maryland Association of Counties in Ocean City. I find attending the MACO meetings to be a worthwhile investment in the time, because I get to discuss common areas of interest and concern with county leaders from throughout the state. However, because I strongly believe that the taxpayer should not foot the bill for county commissioners to attend meetings outside of the county, so I pay my own way.

I always learn a good bit at a MACO meeting. This meeting was no different. And, coming on the heels of two special sessions where the legislature in Annapolis passed new taxes and passed another ballot measure to go to the voters, this one on gambling, I learned a good deal about where many county officials think this state is headed.

One thing I learned is that our governor is not likely to be content with the tax increases he has rammed through in his first six years in office. As you know, in 2012 he spearheaded increases to the income tax, the flush tax, and an enormous unfunded mandate on the counties, which I call the "rain tax." This is a requirement that 10 counties, Frederick County being one of them, make dramatic changes and retrofit an enormous amount of storm water infrastructure. The estimated cost to Frederick County is over 1.5 billion dollars. (To see the staff report visit

But that is not enough to satisfy Governor O’Malley.

And although Governor O’Malley was nowhere to be seen at the MACO conference, where he usually makes an appearance and gives a speech, his legions were there promoting his increasingly liberal agenda. It is clear that the Governor has put Maryland in the rearview mirror. The latest news is that he has a speaking role at the Democratic Convention later this month, and it is all part of his strategy to take Maryland further to the left, tax us to death, all to burnish his liberal Democrat credentials when it comes time to compete in the 2016 Democrat primary for president. We here in Maryland are now nothing more than a giant petri dish, in which he can continue to conduct his tax and spend experiment on the long suffering taxpayers of this state, so he can demonstrate to the core liberal base of the Democrat party four years from now that he is sufficiently liberal to carry their banner into the White House. I only hope we can survive him.

Of course, it wouldn’t be MACO without the governor’s lieutenants floating yet another massive proposed tax increase to be considered at next year’s General Assembly. This one involves taxing us on the miles we drive our car. That’s right, every year we will be required to have our vehicle’s odometers inspected, and we would get a tax bill, if O’Malley has his way, based on the number of miles we have driven the previous year.

Apparently the governor is in a snit because he didn’t get his gas tax increase. So rather than tax our fuel, in addition to taxing our income and everything else that we have, he now wants to tax our travel time. One can only wonder if each one of us gave the State of Maryland every dollar we earned, if that would be enough to satisfy Martin O’Malley.

Another thing I learned at MACO is that there is a divergence of opinion on what the voters will do this November with all of the ballot measures which will be before them for an up or down vote. As you may recall, the so-called "Dream Act" which provides state tuition benefits to illegal aliens, will be on the ballot for approval. We also will see ballot measures concerning same sex marriage and the Democrat’s redistricting map. We can now add to that a gambling bill, which adds a sixth casino site in Maryland and lowers the taxes that the casinos will pay to the state.

Less than three months before the election it is really hard to gauge public opinion on these measures, and I think one of the most interesting things to come out of our election here in Maryland will be the fate of these ballot measures. It will also be interesting to see what groups mobilize to support or oppose any of these measures, and how much money groups are willing to spend to promote their views on the various questions.

There is a lot to be decided this November, and there is also a lot to be decided by the legislature next winter.

If anyone still thinks that is true, and if anyone still thinks that Gov. Martin O’Malley is watching out for the best interests of Maryland, you should probably look to change your thinking.

According to an article in The Washington Times on July 3, "…almost 40,000 Marylanders crossed the Potomac River for new homes in Virginia, taking 2.17 billion dollars with them…"

This all occurred, according to the article, between the years of 2007 and 2010, all of which were under the stewardship of Governor O’Malley. These lost jobs occurred on the heels of the biggest increase in government spending in the history of the United States.

Keep your eyes open and your hands on your wallets.

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