Raising state taxes is the road to ruin
I must take issue with Governor Schaefer and state Sen. Laurence Levitan on the issue of taxes. It is absolutely insane to raise taxes during a recession.
If our governor is to be believed, Maryland's financial crisis stems from a slowdown in sales and income tax revenues. The two are closely related. A falloff in retail sales, particularly "big-ticket" items, results in decreased sales tax revenue and lost jobs. Lost jobs leads to a downturn in income tax collections and increased demand for social services. Wage earners and consumers lose confidence, stop buying and the cycle repeats itself at a higher level.
The General Assembly must stop talking about new taxes, which will only make matters worse, and seek to reduce the state's overblown, overpaid bureaucracy. The biggest cost is payroll. Every state agency has its own personnel and public relations function, and the state has a department of personnel whose head makes more than $100,000 a year. Why does the governor need a 100-person personal staff, 31 cabinet members and a 200-member office of administrative and executive control? This is duplication we can no longer afford.
Raising taxes is the quickest way to disaster. The more money the state takes from consumers, the less they will have to spend and the more people will be laid off, resulting in even lower sales and income tax revenues.
Charles A. Frainie
Tax and spend
Your editorial of Jan. 10 lamenting that it is not easy for Gov. William Donald Schaefer to run a government in tough times brings to the surface my dwindling tolerance for your support of government ineptitude!
What manner of guilt-ridden hysteria festers so freely in the depths of your editorial conscience that you would charge that we taxpayers are guilty of a crime by not paying taxes on exempted services?
Am I to believe that we, the taxpayers, "have robbed tax collectors of hundred of millions of dollars"? You jest! Or, God help us, you are serious! Mr. Mencken would feast on you.
When the governor and his herd of complacent legislators in Annapolis recognize and correct their vote-buying largess in funding APEX, prevailing wage mandates, over-funding of state pension funds, legislative scholarships, inflated bureaucratic sacred cows, over-funded and under-scrutinized public works projects where no wrong is ever made right, then and only then will I "open my mind" to their entreaties for higher taxes and sneaky fee increases.
Your choice of sales taxes as the vehicle to lead the offense against the smoke and mirrors war on deficits is an apt one. It is always easier to squeeze out new taxes a penny at a time. No one could complain about a penny! Right? Wrong!
I call on the editorial staff to recognize that the state government has a compulsion to spend every dollar available and that vote-buying is the only standard that is followed by our elected representatives when they approve spending bills.
We elected them, and to that extent, we are guilty of all of their crimes. I am tired of it.
Administration spokespersons billed President Bush's State of the Union address as the "defining speech" of his presidency. If that be so, pity the American people.
I wish to express my deep concern regarding the recent $40 million reduction in the operating budget of the University of Maryland College Park.
As an alumnus, I have a strong desire to see the university provide the outstanding educational base needed by tomorrow's leaders and progress toward becoming one of the top public educational institutions in the nation. Catastrophic budget cuts only impede progress toward these goals.
Although budget cuts produce quick savings, Maryland's overall economy will be weakened for years by the loss of bright students to institutions in other states and by loss of talented faculty who will naturally gravitate to more rewarding academic environments.
George I. Altmeyer
Lots of laughs
This is the second letter I am writing regarding Wiley Hall's Jan. 15 column. I liked the column enough the first time to let him know it.
Now here comes Edmund W. Huppman Sr. (Forum, Jan. 27), who takes offense at the same column that tickled me. Mr. Huppman states he is 62, not knock-kneed and in great physical shape (but openly hidebound).
I'm 69, knock-kneed (my least physical deformity) and still get plenty of laughs out of each day through God's grace.
Come on, Ed. Lighten up.