Business leaders aren't known for their love of taxes, so the fTC Greater Baltimore Committee's warm endorsement today of the Linowes Commission's tax restructuring plan may come as a surprise to some. But business leaders are paid to worry about more than this year's tax bill. They must also anticipate the conditions their companies will contend with in the future. Will this region be a good place to do business 10 years down the road? Will public schools turn out a good work force? Will there be adequate roads, bridges and public transportation? Will Maryland offer a quality of life that will attract and retain talented people? The answers to all those questions depend in large part on a fair and adequate revenue base for state and local governments.
Viewed in that light, dismissing the Linowes plan as merely a way to raise taxes is simplistic and, ultimately, self-defeating. The Linowes plan is as much about fairness and accountability as about increasing revenues for the state. For instance, homeowners should applaud the commission's efforts to help wean local governments from their over-dependence on property taxes.
The GBC also reiterated its interest in the health and effectiveness of public education in Baltimore -- a goal which the Linowes plan addresses by funneling new money to education in the city and other jurisdictions. In conjunction with the reforms proposed by state schools Superintendent Joseph Shilling these funds would go a long way toward bolstering the work force that businesses so badly need.