The Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association represents a cross-section ofcounty taxpayers organized to ensure fiscal responsibility in countyand state government. The association -- a member of the Maryland Taxpayers Association -- is non-profit and non-partisan in its orientation and activities.
The association's State Government Committee was elected by its members to monitor, research, report on and interact with various levels of state government to further the association's purpose.
Where we stand:
The AATA believes the majority of taxpayers ofAnne Arundel County and the state of Maryland are totally frustratedwith government's ability to control spending, set public prioritiesand respond to taxpayer concerns.
What follows are AATA positionson what we believe are the top financial issues of this legislative session. We will communicate these views to each level of state government and monitor all appropriate hearings.
The 1992 Capital Budget
We believe the governor's 1992 capital budget is out of touch with the fiscal realities of a recession. Of course, essential capital projects should be continued, especially those in the health, security and education areas. But every line item in this budget deserves close scrutiny. Several should either be put on hold or stretched out. Some examples:
* State buy-out of an Annapolis housing project (tomake way for another government office building, at $3.5 million).
* Renovations of private colleges ($6 million).
* Renovation of state office buildings and addition of new parking ($26 million).
* Elimination of leases and purchase of more state office space ($88 million).
The 5 percent gas tax
The AATA is opposed to the new 5 percent tax on gasoline proposed by the Maryland Department of Transportation for the following reasons:
1. The state has not justified the need.
2. Highway spending should be reduced to reflect reduced revenue.
3. The tax is inflationary and will worsen an alreadypoor state economy.
4. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay a tax-on-a-tax-on-a-tax. (Present state tax plus present federal tax plusnew federal tax equals new 5 percent tax.)
As a corollary matter,the General Assembly should take a firm, early stand opposing the governor's penchant for "raiding" the Transportation Trust Fund to balance the budget.
Linowes Commission Plan
AATA believes the Linowes Plan falls far short of fulfilling its original charge to develop an "equitable system of taxation" for Maryland. For example:
1. Linowes failed to examine the economic impact of $800 million-plus in new annual taxes on individuals and businesses.
2. Linowes failed to examine the spending side of state government operations.
3. Linowes failed to detail and deduct the annual costs of operating the proposed revenue program.
4. A key Linowes assumption on revenue need was flawed; namely, that federal aid to Maryland has been decreasing. In fact, federal aid over the past four years has gone up some 30 percent.
5. The proposal to add a personal property tax of 2 percent on all motor vehicles and boats annually will affect almost every Maryland adult severely. It is a clear example of the fiscal shell game being played by the Linowes Commission.
Editor's note: The writer is director of Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association State Relations. To reach AATA, write: AATA, P.O. Box 356, Arnold, Md. 21012; or call 544-3326.