It appears that the O’Malley/Brown Administration got a little dizzy while spinning the rather dismal July jobs report. Given that Maryland lost nearly 10,000 jobs last month, that’s understandable. It takes a lot of spin to try to turn that kind of job loss into anything positive.
In July, Maryland had the third worst job numbers in the country, and unemployment increased from 7% to 7.1%, while US unemployment “edged down.”
Governor O’Malley said in a statement that while the job numbers were disappointing, Maryland demonstrates “tremendous economic strength”. He said that Maryland’s unemployment rate, while high, “remains four percent below the national average”. The Governor went on to mention, as he is wont to do, Maryland’s Triple A bond rating – as if that’s related to jobs.
Let’s take a moment to peel back the layers of the O’Malley/Brown Administration’s self-serving rhetoric. The Unemployment Rate for the United States in July 2013 is 7.4%. Maryland’s unemployment rate rose to 7.1%. That is a 0.3% difference not a 4% difference as the Governor claims. Perhaps it is just more O’Malley/Brown Math, like their claims to have cut the budget as they have increased state spending by more than $7 billion. They also failed to mention that the last three jobs reports have been bad for Maryland.
It is the worst kind of arrogance to tell people who have lost their jobs and families who are fighting to keep the wolves from the door that they should take comfort in the knowledge that their state has a great Triple A bond rating. What about the gas tax increase, sales tax increase, toll increases and fee increases that take money out of every family’s pocket in Maryland? The time has long past for the O’Malley/Brown Administration to abandon the “Let Them Eat Cake” policy that has guided them, and yet they continue to repeat this nonsense while praising their progressive utopia.
Maryland’s alleged “economic strength” is as nonsensical as the rest of the drivel coming from the O’Malley/Brown Administration. If you really want to look at a state that can boast that title, you need only look across the Potomac to Virginia. Virginia is just as vulnerable to sequestration as Maryland is – if not more so. But if you compare the job numbers, you see two very different stories. Maryland’s July Unemployment rate was 7.1%, Virginia’s was 5.7%. Maryland lost 4,900 private sector jobs in July, while Virginia gained 4,100. According to the Tax Foundation, Maryland has lost more than 66,000 taxpayers between 2000 and 2010, with a loss of more than $5.5 billion in taxable income. On the other hand, Virginia gained nearly 129,000 new residents and an additional $1.1 billion in taxable income over that same time period (and before sequestration).
The reality of the situation is that the O’Malley/Brown Administration has been on a tax-and-spend frenzy since they were sworn into office in 2007. They blew through a surplus, increased taxes, tolls, and fees over 70 times and did NOTHING to soften the blow of the federal cutbacks that everyone knew were on the horizon. The havoc that the O’Malley/Brown policies will wreak on Maryland will be felt long after Governor O’Malley marches off to his next big gig. The sad part is that if the Governor had spent more time doing his job rather than running for his next job, the status of Maryland’s jobs would not be so bleak.
The House Republican Caucus realizes that tax relief is needed now if Maryland is to recover its strength and be a state where citizens can grow up, attend college, start businesses, raise families and retire without an ever-present hand in their wallets. Our Caucus is planning a significant tax relief package that will be introduced in advance of the 2014 Legislative Session. We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, citizens are encouraged to connect with us at www.houserepublicancaucus.com and www.facebook.com/mdhousegop to share their ideas and experience.
Del. Nicholaus Kipke
House Minority Leader
Del. Kathy Szeliga
House Minority Whip