Letters To The Editor


March 26, 2004

Busch tax plan puts big burden on state's poor

The Democrats' latest effort to separate Marylanders from their earnings is directed at the state's low-income and poor families ("Busch pushes tax alternative on slots, budget," March 23).

House Speaker Michael E. Busch claims that his proposed 20 percent increase in the state sales tax would be mostly offset by a decrease in property taxes. But Mr. Busch's math works only for Marylanders who own expensive homes (worth $300,000 or more). And in truth, Mr. Busch's plan would place a horribly regressive tax on the shoulders of low-income and poor Marylanders.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonpartisan research organization, estimates that low-income families in Maryland typically lose 5.1 percent of their income to sales and excise taxes, while the wealthiest families lose just 0.6 percent.

As for the claims that the sales tax increase would be offset by cuts in the property tax, census data for 2000 show that one-third of Marylanders do not own a home and that 90 percent of homes in Maryland are worth less than $300,000.

As a result, the property tax reductions would mostly benefit upper-middle-class and wealthy Marylanders.

Mr. Busch and the Democrats are trying to balance Maryland's budget on the backs of the poor.

At least Marylanders could choose whether or not to put money into a slot machine.

Todd Eberly


The writer is a graduate student in public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

No one will miss penny on sales tax

Reading the article "Busch pushes tax alternative on slots, budget" (March 23), I saw an obviously well-thought-out plan that would not cause a catastrophic decline in income for the average family in this state.

Tax increases in one area would be offset by decreases in other taxes. And, still, enough revenue would be raised to support our schoolchildren.

The sales tax increase would hardly be noticeable in our daily lives. No one would miss that extra penny for a newspaper, extra nickel for an Orioles hat pin, or extra dime for an Ocean City T-shirt. But even if we did, the benefits to our children would make the expense worthwhile.

The governor has threatened the supporters of the tax bill with reprisals in the next election. Maybe he should ponder the idea that the next election may reward those public servants who support good, common-sense solutions to tough economic problems rather than those who are tied to special interest groups that seek to line their pockets at the expense of Maryland's citizens.

Monies taken out of our pockets should go to our schoolchildren, not to racetrack owners. And casinos would take money from our pockets in one way or another.

Also, it would be infinitely easier to repeal the sales tax increase when the economy improves than it would be to close a casino.

Kathy L. Cullum

Havre de Grace

Let's just say no to typical tax hike

When I read The Sun's article "Busch pushes tax alternative on slots, budget" (March 23), a single word came to mind: typical.

It is amazing to me how the very people who overspent our state into its budget problem can suggest we give them more money as a solution.

It is just so typical that these folks come begging for a taxpayer bailout. I think that some of them are actually giddy at the prospect of raising taxes so they can go back on their spending spree.

But the obvious question that nobody seems to be asking is: What will happen during the next economic downtown, when tax receipts again fall and spending has grown?

The answer, of course, is that the legislators will come to us, hat in hand, crying that the sky will fall unless taxes are raised again. How typical.

I think it's about time that we taxpayers stood up for ourselves and told the legislators in Annapolis: "No!"

No to tax increases. No to uncontrolled spending. No. No. No.

Michael R. Andersen


Plan Busch offers is fair and reliable

As a conservative Democrat, I am pleased to hear a tax plan called a tax plan, not a fee increase ("Busch pushes tax alternative on slots, budget," March 23).

House Speaker Michael E. Busch's plan makes sense on many levels. It allows revenue to be collected immediately, not in two or more years, as slots would.

It is fair for all Marylanders, asking state residents to contribute based on ability.

And most of all, it addresses our long-term structural deficit with predictable, reliable revenue sources.

Pattie Dillon


Irresponsible to ask taxpayers for more

I find it reprehensible for The Sun and House Speaker Michael E. Busch to suggest that a 20 percent sales tax increase and an income tax increase on the top 3 percent of wage-earners would solve the state's budget problems ("Endgame," editorial, March 23). The Sun says this would come at "a modest cost of less than $100 for most Marylanders."

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