Dennis Rasmussen did the right and courageous thing by publicly revealing his private opposition to tax cap proposal. The 2 percent tax ceiling panders to a bumper sticker mentality; the reality is that the county would lose more than $20 million the first year alone. Despite the claims of the tax rebels, no executive can run a government, however efficiently, under such fiscal fetters and still provide the level of services residents have received -- and still expect.
Now that Rasmussen has taken a stand publicly, all four candidates for county executive in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, where referendums are pending, are officially opposed to the caps. That ought to be a signal to voters that arbitrary ceilings are unworkable. But the tax protesters undoubtedly will not see it that way. They have charged from the start that county government is so bloated that elected officials can't be trusted to economize voluntarily.
This has some obvious appeal, particularly in a time when the federal deficit is going to force fees and charges that will increase the cost of living. Despite that, none of the candidates is willing to jump on the demagogic bandwagon to garner votes. That's the clearest testament to the lasting damage the caps will do. In the end, the tax revolt in the counties is like the Reagan revolution that promised more for less: It simply can't deliver.