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From the Desk of
County Commissioner Kirby Delauter

(5/2012) It has been said before that the only things for certain in life are death and taxes. Welcome to the 430th Session of the Maryland General Assembly! To date there have been 1,099 bills introduced into the Maryland Senate and another 1,476 bills introduced in the House of Delegates. It is worth noting that 293 of those bills alone deal with just revenues and taxes.

While not all of the tax proposals are necessarily bad, some are quite good and would protect Maryland tax payers. Unfortunately, most of the good ones have only two chances for passage - slim and none, and rumor has it that slim was seen at the MARC station purchasing a one way train ticket out of town.

The Maryland General Assembly, and particularly this governor has become quite good at pushing class warfare in Maryland. They say their tax proposals and increases will always hit someone else, so we should support their proposals. It's the old adage, don't tax you, and don't tax me, tax that guy behind the tree.

The only problem with that mind set is that in a free economy, we are all inter-related in the scales of finance. By taxing anything, thereby adding more costs, we all pay more.

Increase the costs of labor through taxes, you increase the cost of every product produced. Increase taxes on services, professionals will simply charge us all more. Increase taxes on capital gains and people stop investing. I think you get the idea.

This year the governor and the legislature have been working overtime to find more creative ways to separate us and our money. From wanting increases on the gas tax, I guess they don't mind spending $4 to $5 for a gallon of gas, an increase of 60% to 140% in some cases on toll roads in Maryland, a 100% increase in the "flush tax," along with income tax increases on the "wealthy" Maryland residents, and tax changes on our mortgages.

The Governor claims his income tax increases would generate $182 million, but the independent Department of Legislative Services issued a report stating the increases would only generate $130 million.

So even if the governors planned tax increases were enacted, we would already be set up for failure with another revenue shortage of $52 million.

I guess he can come back next session and request additional tax increases to cover the shortage. I will not go into all the details on the taxes that were raised by this governor and legislature back in the special session of 2007 which raised an additional $1 billion to "fix" our budget shortfall. Remember, that was to have set the state's books in balance, yet here we are again with another $1 billion deficit facing the state in 2013.

Maybe, just maybe, we don't have a revenue problem, but rather a spending problem. I'm not a mathematician, or I guess in the governor's way of operating, I'm not a magician either, but if we keep having billion dollar shortages, maybe we should cut back on our spending. I have only addressed the tax increases, and have not detailed the teacher pension shift of more than $200 million to the county governments. That topic has been adequately detailed and debated for its short-sightedness.

This session of the General Assembly has been about the most anti-business, anti-consumer, anti-taxpayer in modern memory. The state talks a good game about job creation and improving the economy, but when they have the chance to act, they work in the complete opposite direction.

As we have proven here in Frederick County, the local government knows how best to operate for our citizens. We have been more than frugal with taxpayer dollars in our actions and deliberations. We have also been very cognizant to create a business friendly environment, and we see this paying off.

We have one of the few county governments in America actually in effect running a profit. In 2011 we had a projected 2013 deficit of $48 Million, thanks to the conservative actions of 4 out of 5 of this BoCC, we now have a projected surplus for fiscal year 2013 of $29 Million, this was done by making tough decisions it was no accident. We will also give money ( Approx. $6.7 million ) back to the taxpayers and NOT create new and ongoing government programs that require permanent funding! It is true as they say; the government that governs best is that which governs closest to the people.

As an aside here, there has even been a bill moving through the House of Delegates, House Bill 987 which would require local jurisdictions to collect a storm water utility fee to fund street retrofitting and other projects, helping them meet federal mandates to reduce pollution runoff to the bay. The bill does not stipulate any mandatory minimum fee.

Local governments are already able to impose such a fee without a mandate, and Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-Montgomery County), the committee chair, was quoted in the media as stating, "The truth of the matter is, the local jurisdictions have been dragging their feet on doing this," So much for local autonomy and control. I know my message to both Annapolis and Washington would be pretty much the same, please just leave us alone.

As I stated, the only sure things in life is death and taxes, and with all the negative tax information coming out of Annapolis, I guess the afterlife will be our only salvation in Maryland.

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