State can find alternatives to raising taxes
I'm not sure if The Sun's statement that "Ideally, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the General Assembly would have agreed on a substantial tax increase this year" ("Endgames," editorial, April 1) was an April Fool's Day joke, but in Maryland tax increases are no laughing matter.
And, contrary to the glum assessment that "higher taxes are inevitable," several options are available that would put a substantial dent in the deficit. After all, Maryland's budget increased by more than 11 percent between 1990 and 2001 even after accounting for inflation and population increases.
Mr. Ehrlich and the Assembly should consider eliminating $15 million for a study of the proposed Purple Line, $32.6 million for dredging the Port of Baltimore and $15 million for additional warehouse space and $14.3 million to rehabilitate Dundalk Marine Terminal.
All of these infrastructure projects would be done more efficiently by private business, if they are economically viable. And hundreds of other projects in the state budget could be outsourced, privatized or done away with entirely.
Spending can be cut and taxes don't have to be raised. It is just a matter of setting priorities.
Paul J. Gessing
The writer is director of government affairs for the National Taxpayers Union.
Send contributions to state comptroller
Apparently, the editorial staff of The Sun feels Maryland taxpayers are getting off easy. What else would prompt the bold assertion that "Ideally, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the General Assembly would have agreed on a substantial tax increase this year"? ("Endgames," April 1).
The Sun should instead propose a new voluntary tax, then publish the comptroller's address and let those who feel under-taxed send more money. The rest of us could manage our own funds.
I imagine this would be really popular right around April 15.
Raymond F. Saunders
Raise state tax on value of land
I want to offer an option to House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who said the state has only two options for a tax increase - raise the sales tax or the income tax ("With budget shortfall, Ehrlich faces tough choices," March 30).
I think the governor is on the right track in asking for a property tax increase. But remember that the property tax is really two taxes - one on buildings and another on land. We should raise the tax on land values, not buildings.
This would accomplish several goals at once: raise revenues, discourage land speculation, encourage building and home improvement and curtail sprawl better than any Smart Growth policies.
Veto any tax hike the Assembly offers
I guess most of the General Assembly didn't get the message from the last gubernatorial election ("Ehrlich's slots bill defeated by House committee vote," April 3).
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend didn't lose just because she was a bad candidate, which she was, but because Marylanders are tired of the typical tax-and-spend Democrats. We're fed up with a legislature that feels the answer to its overspending is to raise taxes and not have slots. We've had it with having to live with less because they want more.
I hope Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. vetoes every tax increase the Assembly sends to him. This would force the state to cut those so-called "vital programs" and "safety nets" because of lack of funding.
D. Keith Henderson
Don't cut programs for elderly or kids
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's slots bill has been defeated ("Ehrlich's slots bill defeated by House committee vote," April 3). He thinks raising taxes would be political suicide. And the Ehrlich administration's threats of cuts to programs, including education and care for the elderly, continue.
In coming months, we will see how important the elderly and children of Maryland are to the governor, the legislature and the citizens of Maryland.
Let's remember that the elderly have paid their dues. And that children are our future.
Havre de Grace
Civic duty to oppose this immoral war
I would like to personally thank The Sun for its courageous editorial stand against the war on Iraq.
All informed citizens who support our young people and our military professionals have a moral and civic duty to oppose this dishonorable war.
War protest letter sent wrong message
The protest letter sent to the president by a few members of the Maryland Assembly is extremely offensive and ill-timed ("11 Assembly Democrats send Bush protest letter," March 27). And sending the message on Assembly letterhead makes the situation even worse; it gives the appearance that this is the official position of the state.
Individuals have the right and obligation to state their opinions but they remain just that: personal opinions. The displeasure cited by the 11 members of the General Assembly should not have been sent on official letterhead.