Some Explaining To Do

Now that Governor O’Malley has released the details of the largest tax package in Maryland history, I have a few questions: - Since he is using the tax package to pit Marylanders against each other by class, can we revoke his “One Maryland” credentials?

- Does he really think a reduction in the income tax for “working people,” which means a one-time refund every year, makes up for the everyday taxes they’ll have to pay, like the higher sales tax, the new sales tax on so-called “luxury” services like health clubs, real estate services and hair salons, and the gas tax?

- Why does he limit “working people” to people who make less than $150,000 in taxable income individually or $200,000 as a family? Aren’t people who make more also “working people?”

- Does he honestly believe that raising corporate taxes makes the tax system fairer? Who do you think is going to end up paying those higher taxes, the corporations or the people who purchase their goods and services?

- Our elected officials say that there is virtually no more waste in the budget to warrant additional cuts. Based on recent reports that $500 million in Thornton Act education funds were misspent, and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation is $1.9 billion in debt due to failed ventures statewide, are you as skeptical of that claim as I am?

- Based on those same reports, do you have faith that the gas tax revenues will actually go to transportation projects, or slots revenues to education, or any of the money toward whatever programs they say will be funded?

- Isn’t it ironic that the wealthy liberals in Montgomery County are complaining about the proposed income tax increase for higher-income Marylanders? Where did they think the money for all the government programs they desire was going to come from? Will they really move across the river to northern Virginia as county executive Isaiah Leggett suggests?

- Would they need $6 million of the money generated by slot machines to help problem gamblers if they weren’t putting slot machines in Maryland to begin with?

- Will Governor O’Malley edit the tourism brochures to tout Maryland as having the third highest marginal tax rate in the country at 9.7 percent? Do you hear the giant sucking sound of businesses and well-off families leaving for Virginia’s 5.75 percent marginal rate, West Virginia’s 6.5 percent rate, or Pennsylvania’s 3.07 percent rate?

If Governor O’Malley had begun the discussion of how to handle the budget deficit last year, we would have had more time to seriously discuss spending priorities.  We could have questioned whether or not the money being spent today is getting the results we intended and made significant adjustments to align spending with income. We could have avoided burdening the people already coping with higher gas prices, rising property tax rates and doubled utility bills. Instead, he spent the $1.5 billion surplus he inherited to buy time, and now time has run out.