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.