House Republican Caucus Congratulates Delegate Herb McMillan on Election as Vice Chair of Anne Arundel County Delegation

mcmillanAnnapolis, Md. – The House Republican Caucus is proud to congratulate Delegate Herb McMillan on his unanimous election as Vice Chairman of the Anne Arundel County Delegation today. Delegate Cathy Vitale (R-Severna Park) nominated Delegate McMillan. Delegate Barbara Frush (D-District 21) and Delegate Nic Kipke (R-Pasadena) seconded the nomination. Delegate Kipke cited McMillan’s’ fiscal expertise, record of accomplishment, and ability to work across party lines. Delegate McMillan will serve alongside fellow caucus member, Delegate Steve Schuh, who is Chairman of the Anne Arundel County Delegation.

House Republicans Start 2014 Session with Emphasis on Tax Relief

Annapolis – Today, the House Republican Caucus began the work of the 2014 Legislative Session by affirming their leadership team and commitment to presenting alternatives to the high taxes being pushed by the majority party in Annapolis.

The House Republican Caucus re-elected Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga by unanimous acclamation. The leadership team was nominated by Delegate Ron George of Anne Arundel County. The nomination was seconded by Delegate Justin Ready of Carroll County.

“I appreciate the support of the Republican members in selecting me as their leader. We are united in passing tax relief this session to help Maryland families,” said Delegate Kipke. “High taxes and fees are harming so many households and many lifelong Marylanders are fleeing our state to avoid this unfair tax burden. This session Republicans have a laser-like focus on reducing taxes on behalf of all Marylanders.”

During the first floor session of 2014, House Republicans nominated Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke as Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Delegate LeRoy Myers made the nomination saying, “As the minority party in the Maryland House of Delegates, we look for the opportunity to vote FOR something rather than against it. While we deeply respect Speaker Busch, we hold a very different view on the policies that are best for the citizens of the state of Maryland. To that end, we feel it is time to nominate a member of the House who best represents the views of the minority party.”

“This session we are committed to championing better solutions for a better Maryland,” commented Delegate Szeliga. “Our caucus will continue to stand united to protect Maryland’s citizens from calls for higher taxes and overreaches by their government.”

House and Senate Republicans Stand AGAINST More Debt and Stand Up FOR Maryland’s Families

Annapolis – House & Senate Republicans on the Spending Affordability Committee yesterday voted for a reduction in Maryland’s debt of $375 million and to require Governor Martin O’Malley to submit a budget of 0% growth.

Democrats on the Spending Affordability Committee rejected both Republican proposals and voted to accelerate state spending by 4% and increase the state debt ceiling by $75 million.

“Today, we learned from legislative staff that Maryland faces a shortfall of $600 million,” said Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley.  “With this daunting challenge of balancing Maryland’s budget, we need to exert fiscal discipline and stop increasing state spending and debt.”

“In the next few years Maryland will be facing some significant challenges covering payments on the debt accrued by the O’Malley-Brown Administration,” said House Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke. “We have the responsibility to our taxpayers to slow this bus down and find a way to pay for our existing debt before we take on any more.”

“Governor O’Malley received a huge Christmas gift today by the sanctioning of higher spending and increased debt under the guise of ‘spending affordability,’” said Senate Minority Whip Joe Getty.  “By doing so, we reduced the options for a future governor to solve Maryland’s structural deficit burden because we’ve hamstrung future budgets with higher baseline spending and significant debt service.”

“After nearly 80 increases in taxes, tolls, and fees over the last seven years it is irresponsible to lay the foundations for yet more tax increases,” said Delegate Addie Eckardt. “Voting to expand our debt is basically voting to increase the tax burden faced by Maryland families; maybe not today, but certainly in the not-so-distant future.”

“Maryland’s families can ill-afford yet another tax increase,” said Kipke.  “Supporting these increases is a disservice to Maryland’s families, many of whom can’t increase their personal spending due to additional taxes and fees.  If they can’t increase their spending, the state shouldn’t either.”

House Republican Leadership Issues Statement on Del. Steve Hershey’s Appointment to the State Senate

HersheyWe congratulate Delegate Steve Hershey on his appointment to the State Senate. He has been a dedicated colleague and member of the House Republican Caucus and we wish him all the best in this new role. We have no doubt that he will continue to be steadfast representative and advocate for the citizens of District 36.

House Republican Caucus Issues Statement on Pipkin Resignation

The House Republican Caucus issued the following statement on the resignation of Senator E.J. Pipkin:

“The House Republican Caucus thanks Senator Pipkin for his dedicated service and advocacy for Maryland’s taxpayers. He has been a tremendous leader in the General Assembly and strong Republican partner in fighting the O’Malley/Brown Administration’s tax and spend agenda.

He will be sorely missed and we wish he and his family all the best in their new endeavors.”

A Message from House Minority Leader Nic Kipke & House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga

After careful consideration and discussion with the members of the House Republican Caucus, we are pleased to announce the following appointments to our leadership team:

Assistant Minority Leader:     Delegate Michael Hough

Assistant Minority Whip:        Delegate Sue Aumann

Caucus Chairman:                Delegate Jay Jacobs

Chief Deputy Whip:               Delegate Justin Ready

 Deputy Whips:                     Delegate Gail Bates

                                              Delegate Steve Hershey

                                              Delegate Charles Otto

                                              Delegate Susan Krebs

                                              Delegate John Cluster

                                              Delegate Kathy Afzali

 Ranking Members:               Delegate Tony McConkey, Appropriations

                                               Delegate Kelly Schulz, Economic Matters

                                               Delegate Wayne Norman, Environmental Matters

                                               Delegate Justin Ready, Health & Government Operations

                                               Delegate Mike McDermott, Judiciary

                                               Delegate LeRoy Myers, Ways & Means

 Parliamentarian:                    Delegate Wayne Norman

Our leadership team is a great mix of seasoned legislators with a wealth of institutional memory as well as newer members with a fresh perspective. They represent a wide variety of constituents from the agricultural and rural areas of the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland, to the more urban areas of Central Maryland and many places in between. This team is ready to beat back the failed tax and spend policies that have plagued Maryland for far too long. We are honored to have the opportunity to serve with them.

House and Senate Republicans Protest July 1st Increases in Taxes, Tolls and Fees

Raining taxesOn July 1st, House and Senate Republicans gathered with business owners and citizens to protest the virtual downpour of tax, fee and toll increases heaped on them by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Joint Republican Caucus hosted two media events – one in Stevensville, Md. on the Eastern Shore, and another in Frederick, Md. in Western Maryland.

“In particular, we are objecting to the Rain Tax and the gas tax increase which became effective today, July 1st,” said House Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke (Dist. 31 – Anne Arundel).  “We are protesting the shameful increase in tolls which, in addition to the gas tax hike, place a significant burden on Maryland drivers and commuters in particular.”

House Minority Leader, Nic Kipke addresses supporters and media

House Minority Leader, Nic Kipke addresses supporters and media

The Rain Tax, based on the square footage of impervious surfaces, will be imposed on homeowners, businesses and nonprofit entities, including places of worship in ten of Maryland’s most populous jurisdictions.  These surfaces include roofs, parking lots, sidewalks and other surfaces that do not absorb rain, but deflect it.  The polluted water then flows from impervious surfaces into the Bay’s tributaries and, ultimately into the Bay.

Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (Dist. 36 – Cecil) called the tax “an economy blight and a job killer.”  He emphasized, “Businesses will not want to locate in a state that imposes a rain tax that can equal or exceed their property tax bill. This tax alone threatens to turn Maryland from a business-unfriendly state into a business-hostile state.”

In addition to the new Rain Tax, Marylanders will also have to contend with an unprecedented toll and gas tax increases. The per gallon increase in the gas tax, coupled with a $3.50 increase in the vehicle registration fee, will cost citizens $735 million annually when fully phased in.  The gas tax will increase 63%, while the tax on diesel fuel will increase 90%.  By 2015, the tax per gallon of gas will increase from the current 23.5 cents per gallon (the 29th highest in the nation) to 41.5 cents a gallon (the 5th highest in the nation).  Adding insult to injury, also beginning in 2015, the gas tax will automatically increase with inflation, without any oversight or approval from the General Assembly.

Delegate Kathy Afzali speaks about the Gas Tax at the Frederick, Md. event.

Delegate Kathy Afzali speaks about the Gas Tax at the Frederick, Md. event.

“When the gas tax is added to bridge, tunnel and road toll increases, many of which have doubled, Maryland motorists will be saddled with a highly inflated driving cost,” pointed out Senate Minority Whip Ed Reilly (Dist. 33 – Anne Arundel), “and as business shipping and delivery costs skyrocket, it is the consumers who will bear the brunt of rising prices of just about all consumer goods, including food and clothing.”

“For the past seven years, the O’Malley Administration has beaten Maryland taxpayers bloody with tax, fee and toll increases,” asserted House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (Dist. 7 – Baltimore Co.).  According to published reports, the total tab for the O’Malley Administration’s unbridled increases through fiscal 2014 will be $9.5 billion.  “I doubt highly that during the same time period, any other state has imposed such shameful and unconscionable tax, fee and toll increases on its constituents. This Administration is inflicted with a severe case of revenue greed and the citizens of Maryland continue to be the long-suffering victims.”

July 1st collage

Click on the following links for the official press releases and more detailed information about the tax, toll and fee increases. 

Bay Bridge Event Press Release
Frederick Event Press Release
Tax, Toll & Fee Increase Fact Sheets