The most efficient government is local government

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Carroll County

February 27, 2005

I read Senator Kittleman's comment in the Feb. 20 Baltimore Sun with dismay. Once upon a time, a cornerstone of conservative thought was that good government is local and limited.

As a conservative, it bothers me when state legislators like Senator Kittleman think the decisions for Carroll County should be made in Annapolis rather than Westminster.

As a local mayor, I am a little skeptical of taking advice on "governing efficiently and spending wisely" from members of the Maryland State Legislature.

To me, this is like taking diet tips from Jabba the Hutt.

Since 1990, the Town of Hampstead has reduced property taxes by a third and improved the quality of public services.

We have accomplished this despite our "helpful" state and federal governments saddling us with unfunded mandates.

By my reckoning, Carroll County has done a fairly good job managing its financial ship of state during the past decade.

During the same time period, the Maryland State Legislature has spent money, as my grandmother would say, like it was going out of style.

Just as our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson predicted, local governments lead the way in governing efficiently and spending wisely.

Senator Kittleman's comments suggest that he is among those Republican leaders who have forgotten the nature of a Republic.

Authority does not come from the federal government to the states or from the states to individuals.

The power of self-governance and self-determination starts with the individual and is best exercised at the local level where the voice or vote of one man or woman makes the greatest difference.

Many years ago, Alexis De Tocqueville wrote that " ... local assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of free nations." The freedom we see slowly growing in Iraq eloquently proves this point.

With all due respect to Senator Kittleman and his distinguished colleagues, the State House in Annapolis is not a local assembly.

Whenever possible the decisions shaping the future of Carroll County should be made here, in our local halls and chambers. This is not just a conservative idea; it is a darn good one.

Haven N. Shoemaker Jr.

The writer is the mayor of Hampstead

Speak out! We want your opinions

The issue: The Carroll County delegation to the state legislature has rebuffed the county commissioners for the third year in a row and refused to support a real estate transfer tax that would help fund school and road construction. The majority of the delegation said the county doesn't need another tax, because of a revenue surplus this year and a sizable increase in the recordation tax. Commissioners contend they cannot count on a surplus or a high recordation tax every year.

PRO: Supporters say the transfer tax would help the county catch up with projects that have waited years for funding.

CON: Foes argue that it is just one more tax and another excuse to spend public money in a time when officials should rein in spending.

YOUR VIEW: We want to hear what you think. Should the Carroll County commissioners make another push with the delegation next year to enact a 1 percent real estate transfer tax, or should they look for alternative sources of revenue? Please e-mail us your responses at Carroll.letters@Baltsun.com. We will publish a sampling of the responses Sunday.

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