Maryland taxpayers are caught in a frustrating bind. Despite the enormous federal tax cuts of 1981, they are not paying less in real terms than before the Reagan revolution. In fact, the cut in personal income taxes was more than offset by a steep rise in Social Security payroll taxes and increased state and local taxes that came about because, as the feds went on a borrowing binge in the '80s, fewer federal dollars trickled down to the states.
In recent months, Americans have felt increased tax pressures and a decrease in services simultaneously, and they attributed it to waste in state and local spending. But having booted out the tax-and-spend rascals last November, Marylanders are discovering the problem was indeed broader.
With the state budget pared to the bone and a sixth round of budget cuts totaling another $220 million on the horizon, a special legislative panel has taken the budget show on the road, asking citizens what they want, what they need and, most important, what the state should do.