Sunday, January 3, 2010

Booze tax

An interesting article on a possible increase in the alcohol tax. There is a $2 BILLION state budget shortfall, so something needs to be done. My own opinion is that spending needs to be cut to the bone before you even think about raising taxes. Let's see what a sample of our fearless "leaders" have to say:


Senate delegation chairman state Sen. James N. Robey has said numerous times that he would not favor tax increases, but he said he might consider the alcohol tax.

"I've said all along I would not raise taxes. This is one exception I might consider if a compelling enough case is made," he said. "We can't just keep cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting and cutting."

Actually, you can keep cutting and you need to keep cutting just like the private sector is doing. Thus far, the state budget cuts haven't been very deep. For starters, our state legislators need to look at their own expense reimbursements.


Delegation chairman Del. Guy Guzzone said he'd consider it only if the revenue were dedicated to helping thousands of developmentally disabled people who have been waiting years for state aid.

Guzzone wants the tax to raise revenue but he already has the money earmarked for new spending. That's not how you get out of a $2 billion hole, Mr. Guzzone. Seems to prove the point made by next three:


Republicans state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, and Dels. Gail H. Bates and Warren E. Miller all said they strongly oppose any move to increase taxes, feeling that the state must structurally cut the budget to make spending match revenues.

"We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem," said Kittleman, the Senate minority leader, repeating the mantra for all three. Using higher alcohol taxes to reduce drinking is "social engineering," Kittleman said.

I agree with most of this, but I'm pretty confused about the social engineering malarkey. What is the ban on gay marriage/civil unions if not social engineering?


John Bailey said...

Below is a letter to the editor I recently submitted to the Howard County Times and Columbia Flier.

According to a recent report by the General Assembly Compensation Commission 60% of our state legislators accept free lodging in Annapolis during the 90 day session costing the taxpayers of Maryland and extra $11,340 per legislator. On top of that 86% of our legislators claim their full $42 per day meal per diem. This is at least an extra $13,000 per legislator that the tax payers are required to pay for a part time legislator on top of their $43,500 a year salary. In Columbia we are 40 minutes from Annapolis, many in Howard County commute more than 40 minutes to work each day and are not provided free housing and meals. During these tough economic times this is an expense that can be cut out. While it is a small step, they add up to large savings for a cash strapped state. When I am elected as state delegate from district 12B I pledge to not accept free housing from the state, saving the state $11,340 per year. Plus as a public school teacher I already take a bag lunch to work every day and I do not see a reason why this would change when I am in Annapolis. Eating breakfast and dinner at home and taking a bag lunch saves even more money for the state. It also makes sense to me that you would want to be in the district with your constituents as much as possible serving their needs rather than being in Annapolis being served by their tax dollars. I call on Liz Bobo the current legislator from district 12B to make the same pledge I am making and not accept tax payer funded housing or meals in Annapolis. These are tough economic times and the state is looking for ways to save money, leadership means taking a stand against wasteful spending. It is a 40 minute drive, the same drive many of your constituents make all year long not just during a 90 day session.

John Bailey
Candidate for State Delegate, District 12B

FreeMarket said...

Is Bobo currently being put up in Annapolis on the taxpayers' dime? Since she has that nice hybrid civic I'm sure the environment will not suffer if she commutes. For that matter are there any Howard County based folks in the General Assembly who have the taxpayers pay for their lodging and meals? I would assume so, but if any have opted out of these reimbursements I'd be curious to know which ones.

For the record, the Sun article states that Bobo supports the booze tax although she did not explain why she supports it.

John Bailey said...

I actually have a press release concerning the alcohol tax on my website. The alcohol tax is wrong during these current economic times. Rather then raise taxes on an industry that is already seeing a decline due to people spending less money, lets look for ways to cut back on government spending. My fear is that my opponent Liz Bobo has never seen a tax increase she does not like.

I don't know for certain if Liz Bobo stays in Annapolis on the tax payers dime, but from public comments that she has made she does stay in Annapolis from Tuesday-Friday during session. As do from my understanding other members of the Howard County legislation. I don't have a probelm with them helping the local economy and staying in hotels, but I feel that they should foot the bill rather then pass it on to the tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of confusion, what does another Democrat Tax Increase have to do with Gay Marriage? Don't the Democrats run the State of Maryland, shouldn't you be angry at them for not lifting the ban on Gay Marriage? Why Haven't the Democrats lifted the ban, do you know?

Freemarket said...

I am angry at Democrats. If you recall during the vice presidential debates, then VP candidate Joe Biden was explicit in his support for a ban on gay marriage. Neither of the two political parties have a leg to stand on regarding this issue. I am very much a bi-partisan hater.

Anonymous said...

The Flier and Times need to start printing more of these letters. It's not good to hear more from a blog than the local paper.

Anonymous said...

The booze industry is booming, where are you getting that information?

Anonymous said...

If this challenge is not party politics, you'll be asking all Howard state reps to forgo meals and lodging. That includes Kittleman, Bates, and Miller, right?

John Bailey said...

Correct, if you can drive to Annapolis in a reasonable time then you should do so. No free hand outs from the state, it does not matter what party you belong to. Honestly both Republicans and Democrats in this country have done a good job overspending and putting our country in the current financial position we are facing. There is plenty of blame to go around and it should be dumped on both parties and those that are not willing to lead, but rather take from citizens.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, John Bailey an admitted public school teacher thinks that keeping legislators from spending the night in Annapolis will fix Maryland's Budget? As a teacher John only works 9 1/2 months for a full year salary and has one of the best pensions and healthcare systems money can buy. Maybe while John is in His budget cutting fervor He could look at cost savings in the biggest part of the State Budget, that's right EDUCATION spending.....

Freemarket said...

Anon- I agree that education is a good place to cut spending, but you and I seem to be the only two people on the planet who share that opinion. I am not necessarily a defender of John Bailey but I think he is making a lot of sense on this issue. He is not suggesting that this one spending cut will solve the budget problem any more than Bobo is suggesting that this booze tax alone will solve the budget problem. I just think spending cuts make more sense than tax increases for a number of reasons.