House Republicans Shed Light on “Doomsday Budget” Discuss the Possibility of a Tax-Laden Special Session

ImageAnnapolis – House Republicans today shed light on what many have called the “Doomsday Budget” that passed last week in the final hours of the 2012 Legislative Session.

“For all the hand wringing and wailing that we’re seeing in the media, the bottom line is spending in this budget increases by nearly $700 million over last year” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell. “It was not a budget that we would have crafted, but it is does not demand a Special Session.”

According to the Department of Legislative Services, even with the cuts included in the “Doomsday Budget”, total state spending still increases by nearly $700 million over last year. Total state spending in FY 2012 was $34.7 billion, in FY 2013 total spending increased to $35.4 billion.

“When you look at the numbers it seems that ‘doomsday’ is certainly in the eye of the beholder,” said Delegate Kelly Schulz. “While cuts to education have been making headlines, the reality is they’re basically level-funded in FY 2013, and still receiving more than FY 2012.  While interest groups like MSEA are making hysterical cries for a Special Session to increase taxes, we think after years of record education funding, the taxpayers deserve a break.”

“Our caucus offered a well thought-out plan that reduced the budget and avoided tax increases but it was solidly rejected on party lines”, said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “Now we have the Democratic majority’s budget that was haphazardly crafted as a coercion tool for tax hikes – it was a bluff to force their more reluctant members to vote for tax increases. This scheme backfired and now they want a do-over.”

In fact, a special session could be quite a costly “do-over” for taxpayers. When the legislature convened for a tax-raising special session in 2007, it cost taxpayers over $20,000 per day and lasted several weeks.

“With today being the Tax Day deadline, it is important to keep in mind that nearly $3 billion in new and increased taxes proposed in the 2012 Session, said Delegate Mark Fisher. “While polling showed that 96% of Marylanders felt they paid enough taxes, Governor O’Malley and the Democratic majority were still positioning themselves to take more. The fact that Maryland’s taxpayers made it through the session with very few of those taxes passing borderlines on miraculous.”

“Even in the final days of the 2012 Session Governor O’Malley was still pushing for a gas tax increase and even floated the idea of another sales tax increase, said Delegate Haddaway-Riccio.  “This ‘Doomsday Budget’ is a contrived crisis to give them another bite at the tax apple. We do not need a special session that allows the tax-hungry General Assembly to make another grab for Marylander’s wallets.”

####

House Republicans Issue “2-Minute Warning”

With the clock running down on the 2012 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, House Republicans today called on their colleagues to reject tax hikes and other expensive measures that the citizens of Maryland cannot afford.

 “As we move into the last hours of session many issues are unresolved, particularly in the area of tax increases”, said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio.  “With the budget bill and related tax legislation in conference committee the General Assembly still has a chance to make changes.  There is still an opportunity to protect the citizens of Maryland from massive tax hikes.”

Taxes are not the only unresolved issue as the General Assembly heads into its final weekend.  The Governor’s costly off-shore wind bill has not made it through the Senate.

 “We are in those last few days of session where chaos reigns supreme”, said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell.  “As a body the General Assembly needs take a step back and look at the damage we could do by passing these costly measures.  There is still time to say no.”

 ####

O’Donnell & Haddaway-Riccio: Democrats’ Tax-and-Spend Ways Hurt Marylanders

Governor O’Malley and Democratic leaders in the Generally Assembly are so disconnected from the needs and struggles of Maryland’s citizens that it is truly disturbing.

There is no clearer example of this disconnect than the millions of dollars in higher taxes they are ready to foist onto the citizens of Maryland. In the House of Delegates alone, there have been nearly $3 billion in new and higher taxes proposed, including more than $600 million in proposals from the O’Malley/Brown Administration and their cabinet heads. Perhaps they know that if they throw enough taxes at the wall, eventually something will stick. But no matter what the final total is, it will be much more than many of our citizens can afford.

Consider the following. Personal income in Maryland is still in a downward trend, even lower than the national average. Unemployment has improved slightly over the last few months, but there are still thousands of Marylanders unemployed or underemployed.

While our proximity to Washington DC has sheltered our state from the worst of the economic downturn, the unavoidable reductions in federal spending will have a devastating impact to our state. What little growth there has been in the US economy has been slow, and a double-dip recession is still a possibility. Additionally, if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, Marylanders will be on the hook for millions upon millions of additional costs.

We take no joy in any of these facts, and we wish that things were not this way. But, these are the realities that our citizens live with every day and it is our duty as elected leaders to make decisions based on these realities not a rose-colored idealistic view of what we hope for.

Multiple times over the last several years the Democratic leadership has pushed for a package of tax and fee hikes, promising they will solve the structural deficit and balance our budget without harming our citizens or economy. They push through these hikes only to turn around a year or so later making the same promises about another package of tax increases. The public trust is gone because the citizens of Maryland have caught on to this spend-and-tax scheme. Our citizens have seen and suffered because of the audacity of the Democratic leadership who raid funds and then make our citizens replenish them not once, but twice and in some cases three times.

The O’Malley/Brown Administration and the Democratic leadership have become so arrogant in their tax frenzy that they ignore the protests of our citizens and run roughshod over the objections of blue-dog Democrats in their own caucuses. While the O’Malley/Brown Administration and the Democratic majority in the House and Senate seem unable or unwilling to face Maryland’s fiscal realities, not all Democrats in Annapolis share this problem.

Even Comptroller Franchot has joined us in our fight against higher taxes. Having the benefit of independence from the group-think mentality that rules over the Democratic majority in the General Assembly, Comptroller Franchot has discovered what we in the House Republican Caucus have known for some time; that the high tax climate of the O’Malley-Brown Administration is making matters worse, rather than better and that another round of tax increases is the worst possible thing for our citizens.

What is most troubling about all of these tax increases and new cost-laden programs is the knowledge that their intent is not to make things better for the citizens of Maryland but rather to build Governor O’Malley’s political résumé. Fond of saying “the most important job we create is the next one”, the Governor’s personal mantra seems to be “the most important office I run for is the next one”.

We’ve see it all before. When he was on the city council he was positioning himself to run for mayor. When he became mayor he began positioning himself to run for Governor. Now it seems he has his heart set on a national office. This explains his urgent push for Maryland to be one of the first states to enact Obamacare. This is also the reason behind his fevered push for wind energy and his push for mass transit.

At the end of his term Governor O’Malley will leave office on a course for the next big thing, but it will be at the expense the citizens of Maryland who will be paying for his bad policies for decades to come.