Letters to the editor


July 09, 2006

Other candidates' tax promises empty

I wish I had a nickel for every time a politician promised lower taxes. I might end up with a budget surplus the size of Maryland's. Right now the "Free" State has a $1.2 billion budget surplus.

The two Republican incumbents in District 5A are running for the House of Delegates on a "lower taxes" promise. They have not delivered tax relief with over a billion dollars in the state coffers. Can anyone take their promise of lower taxes seriously?

These same delegates are criticizing Carroll County for having a cash reserve. If you sharpen a pencil and do the math, you can see that the county has a smaller percentage reserve than the state.

Furthermore, the county has a capital plan to do things like build a new high school in the North Carroll area, as well as the three other schools the county needs. The county's reserve will allow us to move forward on badly needed infrastructure, including school construction.

One of the reasons the state has a surplus is that the Legislature has continued to cut funding to local governments while heaping on new requirements.

While state officials gripe about unfunded federal mandates, they are enthusiastic in burdening counties and towns with the same sort of requirements. We could do more in giving local property owners tax relief if the politicians in Annapolis would stop asking us to do their job for them.

It is all well and good to talk about lower taxes. Of the candidates running, I'm the only one who has actually delivered low taxes.

Hampstead has one of the lower municipal property tax rates in the state, a rate that is lower than it was in the 1980s. With our tax dollars, we have built a 16-acre community park, renovated the old Hampstead School into affordable senior housing, restored a historic building on Main Street into our police station and built a new water tower.

The State Legislature continues to waste rivers of money on bloated bureaucracies and ineffective programs. Meanwhile, on the local level we deliver excellent public services at a low price.

We need elected officials who do more than talk about taxes during the election season. We need leaders who understand fiscal discipline and who have a track record of success.

Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. Hampstead

The writer is a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates from District 5A.

Hampstead Bypass is greatly needed

Last week, Gov. Robert L. EhrLich Jr. and state and local officials broke ground on the Hampstead Bypass. The Hampstead Bypass will come off of the existing MD 30 prior to the town of Hampstead, circle around the town, and conclude at Broadbeck Road (a distance of approximately 6 miles).

This project is critically needed to ease traffic in downtown Hampstead. More than 20,000 vehicles pass through Hampstead each day, which is why a bypass has a top priority for local officials. Unfortunately, previous state administrations had allowed the project to languish on the drawing books.

Ehrlich's transportation initiative provided the funding to build the Hampstead Bypass, which will cost a total of $85 million. Construction has started, and because the state is using a unique "design-build" method, the contractor will be able to finish the project faster. The bypass will be open to traffic in 2008.

I would like to thank those officials, particularly Sen. Larry Haines, who kept this project alive for all these years. It is an historic transportation accomplishment for the people of northeastern Carroll County.

Robert L. Flanagan

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

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