Reversal on taxes familiar

February 01, 1991|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Evening Sun Staff

They're from different political parties, but Gov. William Donald Schaefer and President Bush now have at least one thing in common: Both broke pledges not to seek new taxes.

Where Bush said, "Read my lips, no new taxes," Schaefer put it more simply: "I'm not going to seek new taxes."

Schaefer's no-new-taxes comments, now contradicted by his administration's efforts to levy a sales tax on gasoline and to raise about $800 million in other revenues, were made to reporters during an informal "brown bag" breakfast meeting in Annapolis on Dec. 21.

Asked at the meeting if he planned to go to taxpayers for more money, Schaefer said without hesitation: "I am not advocating any taxes."

Leaning toward a reporter's tape recorder, the governor continued: "Hear me, recorder? I am not advocating any taxes."

Schaefer spoke of the state's many needs, particularly road construction. He said he would not veto tax legislation if it came across his desk at the end of the 1991 General Assembly session. But when pressed on his specific plans to deal with the state's money woes, he stood firm on his position.

"I'm not going to seek any taxes," he said again. "I'm going to put the facts before the legislature -- here they are -- and if you can show me where they're wrong, that's fine with me.

"I got the word loud and clear -- don't raise taxes," Schaefer said, referring to the November election when voters, protesting taxes and big government, retired several incumbents.

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