In less than 200 years, the free market and respect for individual liberty took this nation from a rough frontier to a global economic superpower. Today, however, state-level economies are clearly headed in the wrong direction, with the negative consequences of their actions being placed squarely on the backs of Americans.
As Marylanders, we have a battle in front of us that will literally cost us billions. Unfortunately, our state has decided to respond to a tough economy with back-breaking tax increases and various regulatory controls.
Just last year, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources placed tracking devices on the boats of several area watermen without their knowledge. Regulations like these are only half of the problem for local business owners and individuals.
The other half? Taxes.
Gov.Martin O'Malleyhas been trying to convince Marylanders since January that a tax increase on gasoline in our state is a good thing. And that is just this year. One doesn't need to look too far back to see how other tax increases and fees have stifled innovation, prevented savings for families and discouraged investment in Maryland.
How much do you pay for gasoline right now? I shelled out $4.15 per gallon last week.
Yet Governor O'Malley's proposed first phase of gasoline taxes adds 6 cents. Again, that is just this year. In January, the Washington Post reported that "… the three-year increase per gallon could total 18 cents or more, making Maryland's combined levy on gasoline more than 41 cents a gallon and among the highest in the country."
Toll road fees in Maryland were hiked further last November — to $3, $4 and in some locations, $6 a pop. Those rates will go up again in 2013.
Our neighbor to the east, Delaware, has a 0 percent sales tax — compared to the 6 percent sales tax here. Why would I want to open a business in Maryland? If I am an entrepreneur who wants to expand, and in turn bring further employment, Maryland does not look as enticing.
And last July, the tax on alcohol went from 6 percent to 9 percent overnight. Ridiculous.
But there is a solution.
What if I told you every American is entitled to the fruits of his or her personal efforts, especially during these tough economic times? There is an individual running for president who believes in such common-sense ideals and has a record to prove it: Ron Paul.
As a 12-term congressman, Mr. Paul has consistently introduced and supported legislation to give Americans more tax credits and deductions, including on energy, education and health care costs.
Mr. Paul has presented his "Plan to Restore America" to lower taxes and stop reckless spending. His plan ends taxes on personal savings, allowing Maryland families to build a nest egg and enabling hard-working Americans in every state to invest more in their families and local businesses.
We need a president who is not afraid to make the tough decisions necessary to guarantee future prosperity here in Maryland and lead the charge to real economic freedom. We need Ron Paul. And he needs us to support him on April 3.
Arick Stall is the Ellicott City-based assistant press secretary with the Ron Paul 2012 campaign.