STATEMENT FROM SEN. PIPKIN:
DUE PROCESS HAS BEEN VIOLATED
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson would agree that democracy took a hit today in Annapolis. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered "The Secret Tax Increase Bill of 2007" (SB2 Tax Reform Act of 2007) out onto the floor following a committee work session. Parts of the bill were hidden from full public review until today's voting session.
Among the many amendments unseen by the public, was an expansion of the sales tax to computer services, arcades, and landscaping companies to raise over $300 million in new revenue. It took the committee, with no public input, just eight minutes to add this burden.
(See the list of services to be taxed.)
This event was not a public hearing. This was an unrecorded work session of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Citizen-groups who may have wished to express concern regarding the expansion of the sales tax to their respective services were denied their right to testify before the Committee.
Beyond simply those affected by the amendment, all Marylanders should be concerned by what happened in Annapolis this afternoon. The actions of those that proposed and voted for the amendment ignored due process and the public's interest to benefit politically. This is irresponsible legislating and the public should be outraged.
This is Annapolis gone amuck. Tax and spend legislators are consumed with a frenzy to pass massive tax increases no matter the cost.
It is now apparent that the special session will continue into next week. The time remaining may be an opportunity for citizen groups to weigh in on how these tax increases will affect them. Those groups that came to protest taxes, such as those concerned about the sales tax on health clubs and property management services, were removed from the list of businesses to be taxed. Clearly, if the tax and spend legislature hears from citizens they may be forced to listen and put a halt on these runaway tax increases.
Backroom deals and sneak attacks will remain on the horizon for this special session if Marylanders do not act. I will continue to speak out against infringements of the rights of Maryland's citizens to come before their legislature and encourage others to do the same.