The recommendations of the Linowes Commission have not even been officially introduced as a legislative package, but already the reaction from state lawmakers is decidedly negative. This should hardly come as any great surprise.
The report, which was more than two years in the making, does, after all, contain some pretty drastic proposals -- most of which involve higher taxes. But in fairness -- and fairness seems to have been a major criterion -- the commission's proposals would ensure that those with a greater ability to pay are asked to pay more, and that poorer jurisdictions of Maryland, including Baltimore city, would benefit most.
Such idealistic goals, however, do not often mesh with the hard reality of politics. And that reality, simply put, is that the legislature of 1991, having witnessed on Nov. 6 the unseating of incumbents even remotely associated with taxing and spending, not about to approve a plan that hits constituents with new fees on their cable TV service and their dry cleaning and cigarettes, a new tax on their cars and increased personal income tax, too -- especially at a time when the national economy is sliding unpredictably toward recession.