We Are The Losers In Budget Battle '92

AS I SEE IT

Very Little Good News In State Spending Plan

April 26, 1992|By Sharon Hornberger

It's done.

The Maryland General Assembly finally closed its firstextended session in 76 years and what do we have to show for it?

A $420 million increase in taxes for the residents of the state.

For those of us who thought we were a tax hell a few years ago, we've learned we were merely biding our time in tax purgatory.

What exactly does all of this mean to Carroll County taxpayers?

It means that even with all the tax increases and fee enhancers, we will experience a $7.5 million cut in state aid. The legislature also enacteda measure that will enable Carroll to raise its piggyback tax rate from 50 percent of the state income tax bill to 60 percent. Even if the commissioners vote to raise this tax, it will raise only $7.2 million at the current tax and service rate.

If the commissioners decide against this piggyback tax increase, an increase of 25 cents to theproperty tax rate would be needed.

No matter what the commissioners do on this taxing problem, it will be interesting to see where they go to raise taxes. They were elected on a "no new taxes" pledge.

The General Assembly, however, didn't hurt only Carroll; all of Maryland was nailed. By the close of the session, the Assembly had passeda tax on automobiles that get fewer than 27 miles to the gallon, food sold in college and hospital cafeterias, as well as snack food and some pet food.

Gasoline, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages all have additional taxes as well. The legislature also voted raise the income taxes on individuals making over $100,000 a year.

When you scrutinize the budget, you would expect that going from an $11.6 billionbudget last year to a more than $12 billion budget this year, you would have additional spending in important areas of Maryland's budget,like education, aid to local governments, and welfare aid.

Wrong!

You may ask: How can this be?

The budget that passed includes a $44 million cut in education funds and millions in welfare aid cuts. Nearly all grants to local government have been reduced too.

True, there was a conservative minority in the legislature lead by the Republicans that drafted a no-tax budget that makes meaningful cuts. Needless to say, it was axed.

At the end of the legislative session, Carroll Delegation Chairman Delegate Richard C. Matthews summed it all up.

"The winners of the 1992 session are the lawyers, the unions and big government; the losers have been crime victims, small businesses and most of all the taxpayers," he said.

As I see it, we need to remind the General Assembly who its employers are: we, the people of Maryland. We cannot sit back and allow the legislators to enactlegislation and tax us on the premise, "What will be, will be."

We work hard for our money and we do not deserve to have a budget enacted that will further tax us while at the same time cut our services and local government.

The legislators need to be reminded that they are working with our dollars and those that vowed not to raise our taxes should be held accountable in the 1994 elections.

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