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I almost hate to be the bearer of this bad news, but hopefully the word will spread and be a wake-up call for a state where wallets are being plundered and freedoms eroded: the advocacy group Change Maryland is now out with a new listing of taxes.
I actually had a chance to check out an advance copy of this scary reading, with the Change Maryland release excerpted below:
Change Maryland released today an updated list of tax, fee and toll increases enacted under the O’Malley Administration. This latest report shows 32 increases that remove $2.3 billion out of the economy annually and includes only measures that have been enacted. As final passage of increasing motor fuel taxes and offshore wind resulting in higher utility bills appear imminent, the list is a reminder of the ever-increasing amount struggling Marylanders are being asked to pay for the big-government ambitions of politicians.
Fully sourced using Department of Legislative Services analysis, executive branch budget documents and fiscal notes from bills, the list is the only comprehensive analysis of what Marylanders are paying in levies over and above existing taxes and fees since 2007.
“This will not be a slide in the Governor’s power point presentations,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. We’re finding yet again, it’s time to pull the curtain back on this Administration. Elected officials and bureaucrats don’t want their tax, fee and toll increases to be public and understandable, so we did it for them in the interest of promoting fiscal responsibility and transparency.”
The group went on to detail a year-by-year, blow-by-blow rendering of all the additional taxes and fees we are subjected to, and added:
“It’s hard to believe but they’re not even done yet,” said Hogan.”The Governor and his enablers in the legislature are asking for even more tax increases in the next few weeks, This may very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. One-party monopoly rule is just too expensive. We need balance and a healthy and competitive two party system. The taxpayers of Maryland have had enough.”
Bear in mind that the state’s budget has surged by nearly a third since Martin O’Malley took over in 2007; although he likes to speak about phantom “cuts” made in the state’s spending docket, the fact is that we spend more dollars now in 2013 ($37.3 billion for FY2014) than we did in 2007 – when the budget was $29.6 billion the day Governor O’Malley took over. The increases outstrip the state’s population growth and the rate of inflation.
Moreover, Free State residents are staring down the barrel of tax and fee increases #33 (service fee on electric bills for offshore wind), #34 (increased gasoline tax), #35 (increased fee for vehicle registration), and perhaps #36 (increased mass transit fares). The latter three are included in the proposed gasoline tax legislation.
Hogan was also critical of the gasoline tax passed in the House of Delegates last week:
A proposal as unpopular as this one must be hidden from public view and carefully timed to avoid news cycles. In fact, this proposal is so unpopular that the Governor announced it in the evening, the first hearings were held on a Friday afternoon the same day as the death penalty vote, House passage is on a Friday afternoon, and final votes are taking place in the closing weeks of this legislative session.
It would be one thing if Maryland spent its money wisely, but we really don’t. I was going to write that an interesting case study would be one figuring out what state spends the most per capita, but I found out to my pleasure someone beat me to it. The data three years old, but as you can see Maryland was higher than the norm then and it’s doubtful we’re closer now. Just bringing spending down to the nationwide per-person average would save Maryland taxpayers about $4 billion annually – wiping out the extent of O’Malley’s tax increases each year and, even better, allowing its citizens to direct economic growth to where the market leads it rather than have it foisted upon us.
(This piece is edited from a longer, differently-titled version by this writer on his home site, monoblogue. Information on FY2007 and FY2014 budgets and bill links were added for Watchdog Wire.)
Tags: Change Maryland, FY2014 budget, gasoline tax, Larry Hogan, Martin O'Malley, taxation
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