Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ron George Anti-Tax Speech

Delegate Ron George

One year ago, we had a billion dollar surplus. The governor spent it. We have a requirement in this state to have a balance each current budget. The left wing majority of this legislature gets around responsible spending by mandating increases in spending for future budgets, leaving it to future legislative sessions to balance it and then they call it a “structural deficit”. If your spouse were to take the credit card and continually spend more money than the two of you earn, that is not a structural deficit. It is a spending problem. We do not have a structural deficit, we have a spending addiction. A left wing desire to expand the size of government until government runs everything.

This session is unnecessary. We balanced the budget last year so there is no emergency here. Anything we discuss these next few weeks could wait until the regular session. However, the governor wants you to pay his proposed tax increases beginning this January 1st. That is why we are here.

The governor’s budget increases spending 8.5 to 9%. Did your income grow that much? If it did, the government would get more money than it did. But very few people had an increase like that. The state budget doubled over a ten year period. Did your income? We have alternative budgets. They cure the projected self imposed deficit by curbing increases in spending. Note that I did not say they cut spending. They simply curb the increase. One proposal simply limits the increasing spending to 1.5% which is still a bit above the rate of inflation, and with the natural growth in income, the budget is balanced. Another plan limits the increase in spending to 3.5 percent and allows for very limited slots that are not owned by the state like the governor proposes. Whatever your position is on slots, the point is that there are alternative budgets that do not raise taxes and do not cut spending. They do limit the increase in spending to a more reasonable number.

They will argue that Maryland is the richest state in the nation. That it therefore can afford government run health care (there is an alternative that is market based and cuts the number of uninsured, it’s called a health insurance exchange, which is affordable and portable). Or they will say we are the richest state in the nation, therefore we should grow government and its programs. If we are the richest state, it is because, unlike other states, we get 67% of federal taxes injected into our economy from federal payroll checks, defense and space programs, and the like. This distorts the figures on who is the richer state. They also forget to work into those figures the cost of living here and the fact that state and local taxes are so much higher. Maryland taxes you on things that other states do not - your inheritance, your retirement income, your veterans pay and your pensions. The list goes on and on. Grandparents are forced to move.

No matter what tax the governor proposes, there are ramifications. We should learn from two of the last states to impose increases in their income tax: New Jersey and Connecticut. Both of their economies have plummeted with New Jersey having a huge deficit (a real deficit, unlike Maryland) and Connecticut losing a quarter million of its native state’s population that have left for southern states. You raise the taxes on the people that create jobs and the result is job creation goes down.
The gas tax also hurts us all, it hurts the lower income brackets more, and it hurts commerce therefore job growth. The sales tax is equally regressive. In Maryland you can live anywhere and only be 45 minutes or less from another state. Why buy here? Again, it hurts sales, hurts commerce, and therefore brings in less revenue. The governor’s figures are flawed. They do not consider the ramifications of each tax.

The governor is making his calls and striking deals for support for his package. He is doing so by striking fear into the hearts of anyone that dares to oppose him.

George Washington said “How soon we forget history. Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” You are seeing the force, you are seeing the fire. I thank you for your efforts to put it out.

God Bless you and may God Bless Maryland.

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