Institute, a conservative think-tank that...


March 05, 1994

THE CATO Institute, a conservative think-tank that believes the only good government is one that cuts taxes and spending simultaneously, has rated the nation's governors. Not surprisingly, our governor, William Donald Schaefer, gets an overall grade of C. Here's why:

"Schaefer may have made the biggest mistake of his 40 years in public office two years ago when he rammed a major tax increase through the state legislature. That tax hike included higher income tax rates on the rich, a gas tax increase, an expanded sales tax, and a doubling of the cigarette tax.

"The tax bill propelled Maryland, which already collected $500 more per resident in tax revenues than the average state, even higher into the ranks of America's most taxing states. As so often happens, the tax rate increases have failed to translate into increases in tax revenue. Hence, chronic budget deficits remain.

"Schaefer has failed to support even modest restraints in spending. The Maryland budget grew at an annual pace of almost 4 percent above inflation between 1987 and 1992 -- notwithstanding Schaefer's assurances of belt-tightening in Annapolis. Overall, Schaefer's fiscal performance has been less

than inspiring."

There was some good Schaefer news, though. He ranked fifth among veteran governors on holding down spending and cutting taxes. He bested neighboring governors, except for Virginia's Doug Wilder (A), who kept spending to just over the rate of inflation for four years.

The governors of West Virginia (Caperton) and Pennsylvania (Casey) received Ds; Delaware's Governor Carper got an F for increasing taxes to expand health care, education and economic development.

* * *

WITH THE town of Hebron once again tragically in the news, it is instructive to review somewhat similar events from the long and bitter history of the Middle East.

Note, for instance, this passage about events in August 1929 from the book, "A History of Israel," by Howard M. Sacher:

"In the late afternoon Arab bands descended on the Orthodox Jewish community of Hebron, murdering sixty and wounding fifty inhabitants. Other assaults were carried out in Haifa and Jaffa, even in Tel Aviv.

"Numerous Jewish agricultural villages were similarly attacked. The RAF [Royal Air Force] contingent in Amman was inadequate to restore order, while the Arab police were sympathetic to the rioters. The acting [British] high commissioner was obliged to telephone Egypt for military assistance, but the main body of troops did not reach Palestine until three days afterward, and order was not restored until August 28.

"By then 133 Jews had been killed, 399 wounded. The Arabs had suffered 178 casualties, 87 of them dead."

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