The Maryland Public Policy Institute
It’s interesting how what can be called a “rough year” for a politician can be called a “good year” for taxpayers. When did that dichotomy begin?
The Associated Press has an article that got picked up by DelMarVaNow.com about the various disappointments for Governor O’Malley this year. Here’s the highlights:
Gov. Martin O'Malley's push to develop wind energy is a two-time loser, despite a scaled-back version this year. His gas tax proposal stalled. A package of budget legislation unraveled in an embarrassing meltdown in the final hours of this year's legislative session, requiring a special session last month to finish the job.
<> Off-shore wind would have required all Maryland energy users (basically anyone who doesn’t live in a cave) to pay extra on their electrical bills each month just so a tiny percentage of our power can come from a “sustainable” source. This year, O’Malley tried to make this easier for other legislators to swallow by limiting surcharges to $2 per family per month. Still: no dice. And that’s good news for everyone who doesn’t like being nickel and dimed just so that O’Malley can have an extra talking point that appeals to the nation’s green party when he announces his candidacy for 2016.
<> The gas tax increase would have provided extra funding for infrastructure, true. But, as we’ve pointed out over and over again on this blog and in our formally published research and articles, there are plenty of other options. We could make cuts to extra programs elsewhere. We could reexamine our transportation spending priorities and stop throwing the majority of our funding away on programs that only benefit a tiny portion of the state. And, of course, we could stop looting and pillaging the Transportation Trust Fund. Any (or all) of these options sound better than enacting a massively regressive tax on residents that are already spread too thin.
<> The so-called “Doomsday Budget,” which we held a Special Legislative Session to avoid enacting, actually increased state spending by several hundred million dollars. And yet, somehow it was a balanced budget that didn’t rely on any additional tax increases. This is one time that O’Malley definitely got his way, however. Not only did we pull our legislators back to Annapolis (at a cost of at least $25,000 per day) for the Special Session, we decided to increase spending even more – and to pay for it by raising taxes on almost a quarter of our state’s citizens. I guess we should be glad that it wasn’t 50 or 100%, though.
So we dodged two bullets and succeeded in taking the third in the shoulder. I’m glad our governor didn’t have himself a good year…
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