A tax to call their own for those who deserve one

April 08, 1997|By MICHAEL OLESKER

Taxes are The Other Certainty. The General Assembly's now taking bows for cutting personal income taxes in Maryland 10 percent over the next five years, but the legislators will make up for it by finding some new, previously unimagined way to put their hands in our pockets.

As Franklin P. Adams once wrote:

Count that day won when

Turning on its axis

This earth imposes

No additional taxes.

Fat chance. Something new is just around the bend, only they'll dress it up with a fancy name, like "revenue enhancer." Then Parris Glendening, running for re-election, will announce, "Read my lips: No new revenue enhancers," and mean it the same way George Bush meant it.

But he'll have to find something. How else will the state fill that $500 million revenue hole created by the new 10 percent cut? How? How about some new taxes:

1) Tax Glendening every time he says he's against gambling but fails to mention the state lottery, or talks about the addictive nature of gambling but fails to mention keno, or continues to maintain he was "shocked" over racetrack money his campaign received under the table.

2) Tax the first guy who calls the late Jack Kent Cooke a "great sportsman" and fails to remember Cooke growling into Paul Tagliabue's ear, "Keep pro football out of Baltimore." Cooke and Bob Irsay should be sharing the same luxury box now, and it ain't on heaven's 50-yard line.

3) Tax the politician who boldly calls for cutting the size [See Olesker, 5b] of state government but quietly manages to find his wife's third cousin a cushy job with the General Services Department.

4) Tax whoever's in charge of the P.A. system at Oriole Park and tries to cover the crowd's nightly lethargy by blasting music incessantly.

5) Tax every radio jock newly arrived here from Iowa trying to ingratiate himself with a bad Highlandtown imitation ("goin' danny ayshin . . .") and imagines it makes him a citizen instead of merely patronizing.

6) Tax the high schools giving passing grades to students who can't make a noun agree with a verb, or compute simple math unless it's figured in kilos.

7) Tax any politician with control of liquor board votes who uses it to tell restaurant and bar owners, "Don't you think you should throw a fund-raiser for me?" - and imagines such muscle tactics won't get whispered about.

8) Tax Towson Town Center every time you drive there and it takes more than two days just to find a parking space.

9) Tax any city delegate who refers to a "plantation" mentality behind the state embrace of city schools, without mentioning the thousands of children utterly cheated in all the years city officials have run the schools and blithely presided over their decay.

10) Tax the Orioles' new TV voice, Michael Reghi, until he gets a little edge into his observations. Sure, he's heard about the Peter Angelos/Jon Miller flap and doesn't want to sound critical to his new boss. But Reghi sounds like a guy auditioning for Up With People who gets kicked out - for being too cheerful.

11) Tax any oldies radio station in the state any time a Pat Boone cover version of a Little Richard classic is played.

12) Tax gun dealers every time some innocent has to stare into the barrel of a gun sold by some slob who didn't care where the weapon was headed.

13) Tax Department of Sanitation crews every time they drive past huge clumps of neighborhood trash and explain, "If it isn't in a can, we don't touch it."

14) Tax Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas Bollinger every time he attempts to handle a case involving women, or their relationships with men.

15) Tax those insensitive souls who sport the Confederate flag on their license plates and claim it's a free speech issue. You want to show the flag on your car, nobody's stopping you. Put it on a bumper sticker. But don't have the state of Maryland stamp it on a plate and implicitly endorse the symbol of those who inflicted slavery on human beings.

16) Tax the Orioles every time a game goes past three hours on a work night.

17) Tax Jacqueline McLean every time she gives a new TV interview and blames "the media" for her criminal actions. She'd be better off blaming Michele McCloud.

18) Tax the folks at Maryland Public Television every time one of their fund-raisers goes longer than the program it's sponsoring.

19) Tax every Democratic legislator who tells you the new tax cut was made to give money - pennies a day - back to citizens. The cut was made to take away Ellen Sauerbrey's biggest issue and ensure that Democrats don't have to listen to tax-and-spend criticism from Republican opponents.

20) Tax the city housing department's brain. It won't take much. Just ask about all those rotting houses killing entire neighborhoods, and you've immediately taxed every thought process in the department's head.

Pub Date: 4/08/97

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