Billion-Dollar Marty

Yet Another Tax-Hiking Democratic Governor

By Dan McLaughlin Posted in | | | Comments (7) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

When I looked at the long list of tax hiking Democratic Governors back in the spring, I gave an incomplete grade to Maryland's new Democratic Governor, Martin O'Malley, not out of any illusions about whether he was anything but a standard-issue tax-and-spend liberal but simply because he hadn't done anything yet.

Well, no need to wait longer for the verdict. E.J. Dionne, predictably, hails O'Malley's billion-and-a-half dollar tax hike, passed earlier this week:

Facing a $1.7 billion budget deficit, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley -- who offered the above observations in an interview -- led the legislature this week to approve $1.4 billion in taxes and $550 million in spending cuts. It's been a long time since we've seen that kind of balance from the federal government.

At the same time, the legislature extended health coverage to 100,000 residents and approved new money for transportation, education and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. . . .

The final budget package contains its share of questionable concessions to this group or that. The middle class bears more of the burden of the tax increases than O'Malley had hoped. The income tax hike for those earning over $500,000 a year -- the rate goes from 4.75 percent to 5.5 percent -- is a modest step in the right direction.

Read On...

The fact that even Dionne recognizes that this is three dollars in tax hikes for every dollar in spending cuts, as well as the massive expansion of Medicaid to another 140,000 recipients, should tell you all you need to know about O'Malley's commitment to protecting the taxpayer. (Also, the $550 million is a apparently a cut in "State spending growth," not actual spending reductions). Indeed, Dionne hails the Maryland Governor as the man who can bring back the case for big government:

[T]he sound you are hearing not only in Maryland but in state capitals across the nation is the crashing and crumbling of ideology, specifically a right-wing ideology that demonizes taxes and government while preaching that the public interest depends upon solicitude toward the comfortable and the privileged.

Those rebelling against this dying disposition include liberals such as O'Malley and moderates such as Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, both Democrats, and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

In sorting out his state's budget mess, O'Malley turned for advice to Sebelius and former Virginia governor Mark Warner, a Democrat who once persuaded a Republican legislature to raise taxes.

Warner, O'Malley said, urged him to take his time to explain the options so voters understood "what the choices are." O'Malley's initial budget was thus not adventurous. Both Warner and Sebelius also said requests for new taxes needed to be connected to services that voters wanted government to deliver. "It's important that you remind people what their state government does and where their taxes go," O'Malley said.

Yup, a billion-dollar tax hike is exactly Mark Warner's formula for success; Virginia voters will soon enough be asked whether they want him to pressthat same philosophy nationally. And the fine print goes deeper than just a burden on Marylanders who work hard for their money:

Executives this week cast both brickbats and laurels at Maryland’s new package of business taxes and programs, with several singling out a new state sales tax on computer services for criticism.

The tax was ill-conceived and hastily adopted, say some, who warn it will put Maryland companies at a competitive disadvantage and send the wrong message about the state’s business climate.


Expanding the sales tax to computer businesses handicaps those companies when they compete against those in states that don’t have such a tax, Micheals said.

Fortunately for Maryland, it has a lot of company these days among states with tax-hiking Democratic governors.

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Billion-Dollar Marty 7 Comments (0 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

The Special Session process to get there was uglier than one could even possibly describe in brief content. Myself, Streiff, and other contributors chronicled the gory details at

You had a fiscally responsible governor, with 60% approval ratings. Yet, you chose to (a) make a statement about your disapproval of Iraq and Dubya and (b) indulge your desire to be led (like sheeple) by Democrats last November.

Fine. Now, pay up.

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

speak in general, but I believe one of our best chances of winning this election is to focus on the following things... in no particular order, for they go hand in hand.

Fiscal responsibility... nationally. Local candidates for state legislatures and Congress and executives at all levels need to indicate that you can do more for less if you do the "right" things. We don't need state governments sponsoring stem cell research. We need state governments building roads. The national government must get a grip on entitlement spending. No temporary fixes. Hard decisions need to be made. And as the Party of adults, let's act like it.

Border Security... first, our Party, no matter what the differences are with those who are here now, MUST be the party for border security. We can then determine what to do with those here, but Dems know that as long as they hem and haw, more and more illegals will come and they will figure out a way to vote.

Finally, National Security. We are, and should be the Party that recognizes that there are people out there that aren't "misunderstood" or "misunderstand" us. There are people who want us dead. They wouldn't care if it's Nancy Pelosi, George Bush, Cindy Sheehan or myself... they want as many Americans dead as possible. We should do all we can to remind people of how Democrats govern. They've seen it for the last two years.

In addition, I think we need to be more accepting of different types of Republicans. We are all needed after all if we hope to win. And we need to be seen as the Party that gets rid of corrupt politicians and not promotes them to leadership. And if and when we are in the Majority, our first actions should be to protect the rights of the Minority to show that we are interested in a "new dialogue" but only one that is fair.

5 by smagar

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

O'Malley is driving Walmart and working people who actually work out of that miserable state.

Maryland is mediocre in every sense of the word.

"Maryland is for lovers" + "Maryland is mediocre in every sense of the word" = "Maryland is for mediocre lovers"

it's just that you can't wine and dine anyone if the government takes all your spending money!

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