Howard County Maryland Blog

Convention of States in Maryland

Archive for July 11th, 2007

Tax Increases Being Prepared…

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Get ready for tax increases.  First comes the prep work.  Senator Pipkin says it all…. but it comes down to this “SCARE TACTICS”.

Senator E. J. Pipkin (R. Upper Shore 36) voiced outrage at “fear and strong-arm tactics to force counties to support tax increases.” He pointed to an e-mail, prompted by the O’Malley administration and sent on July 5 by the Maryland Association of Counties’ (MACO) chief lobbyist, Dave Bliden, to various county leaders to motivate local government support of impending tax increases.

Why is MACO doing the bidding of the Governor’s office?  Aren’t they the Association of Counties?  Why on earth would they involve themselves in this battle?

Pipkin characterized the e-mail as “an end-run around most local elected officials which resembles the type of arm-twisting used by Tony Soprano and his ilk.”

Yep, they didn’t tell County Council nor our House or Senate representatives.  This went straight to the County Executive’s offices.

Referring to Josh White, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Relations Chief, the e-mail said, “Josh is interested in coordinating a message for the Governor as he goes on roadtrips to the counties. He (Josh White) is looking for not just the property tax equivalents, but real vignettes of the county ‘doomsday budgets’…like closing libraries, reductions in deputies, larger class size, no support for volunteer firefighters. I (Bliden) suggested a goal of 10 examples for each county, if the proposed State ‘doomsday budget’ comes to fruition…..”

Doomsday budgets.  Get ready folks.  We are going to have to shut down County Government.  Make no doubt about it the libraries will have to go out of business.  Please nominate 10 examples of your own for Howard County in the comments section below.

Now I will bet that Calvin Ball’s living wage bill will go foward without question.  No matter how much that contributes to the “doomsday budget” Ken Ulman will be screaming and crying about shortly.  Did I hear someone ask “Why will Calvin’s bill go foward?”  That is a good question.  As one reader put it to me:

Call it “charity for the unions” ask why, in the face of an alleged budget crisis would they consider raising costs that might require tax increases. Just paying back their union buddies for campaign donations and volunteer poll workers.

 The reader then encourages me to:

Call them out for buying votes with our tax dollars.

Well, honestly I didn’t think of Calvin’s bill in that light.  Now that the point is raised I have to ask the question.  The reader’s comments make sense to me.  We will have all the proof we need when we get the “DOOMSDAY” scare tactics thrown at us and Calvin’s bill passes.

Bliden goes on to say, “the Gov could be visiting the counties during the next weeks, which presents an opportunity to deliver. And, with a good product, we could share with the other counties to get them motivated. Something for discussion at our July 13 meeting.”

“It boggles the mind that such terms as ‘opportunity to deliver’ and ‘good product’ would be used to bamboozle Marylanders into handing over more of their hard earned money to the state,” said Pipkin.

Bliden continued, “Another good perspective would be having interested constituencies there to show their interest, e.g. the volunteer ff’ers (firefighters).”

Hmmm.  I wonder if Ken is going to call on the union here in Howard County.  He will probably pack the rooms with them.  He has probably told Mayor O’Malley that he can deliver any union the Mayor wants.  Although water meter readers at Public Works might be questionable.

Pipkin said, “I thought I was beyond shock and outrage until I read about using volunteer firefighters to help beef up the propaganda campaign to get locals to rally behind the state tax increases. The e-mail lays out an arrogant and shameless blueprint for getting locals to back tax increases. As Bliden says, the next few weeks of gubernatorial visits to the counties ‘is a good opportunity to make a case, and, even more important to convince the Governor we (the counties) are there 100% to help him help us.'”

“Absolutely shameless!” said Pipkin.

The referenced email follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen–

I just spoke to the County Executive Smith and Jan Gardner about a conversation I had with Josh White, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Relations Chief, about which we wanted to motivate a a response.

Josh is interested in coordinating a message for the Governor as he goes on roadtrips to the counties. He is looking for not just the property tax equivalents, but real vignettes of the county “doomsday”

budgets”… like closing libraries, reductions in deputies, larger class size, no support for volunteers firefighters. I suggested a goal of 10 examples for each county, if the proposed State “doomsday budget” comes to fruition..

The Gov could be visiting the counties during the next weeks , which presents an opportunity to deliver. And, with a good product, we could share with the other counties to get them motivated. Something for discussion at our July 13 meeting. Another good perspective would be having interested constituencies there to show their interest, e.g. the volunteer ff’ers.

This is a good opportunity to make a case and, even more important, to convince the Governor we are there 100% to help him help us.

Can you get your team motivated? We would be most willing to work with them.

Best wishes.

David

As Monoblogue put it:

I suppose my issue with this attitude is that, judging by this e-mail, counties are more interested in protecting their turf than asking the tough questions, both of themselves and of Governor O’Malley.

What would those tough questions be?  Examining our ever increasing spending  and stoping Calvin Ball’s “living wage” bill.  Despite what some people think Marylander’s are not open to having their pocket picked when Government can’t control their appetite for our money.

The Examiner picked up this story this morning.  Think it will be in The Sun?

Posted in Howard County, Maryland, O'Malley | 8 Comments »