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Nothing free about the Free State

ElectionsExecutive BranchArmy National GuardBarack Obama

When will the raising of fees, taxes and tolls on the average Maryland taxpayer be enough? When will the real leaders in Maryland politics rise up and speak against these ever more burdening costs to an already struggling electorate? I just don't get it. Why won't Republicans band together and speak with one voice in opposition against the majority rule in Maryland? Why won't conservative Democrats speak against the establishment elites in Maryland and try and slow down the rising costs to live and breathe? And when will an independent party finally rise up to challenge the strongholds in each of our politically segregated districts?

Just the other day, I got my semi-annual Harford County tax statement, and I finally saw the Maryland stormwater fee, otherwise known as the "rain tax." Yeah, it's only an additional $125, and thank God, Harford County government is only making me pay 10 percent of it until a study on how to implement it is completed. I even asked a local Democratic candidate for a state Senate seat if he agreed with this new fee. He said he owned 25 rental properties and, of course, he won't just stick by the establishment, especially since only 10 counties were given the bill to pay it.

I also recently noticed a substantial uptick in my quarterly water bill. At first thought, I figured it's the summer, and I guess my kids have been using the water a little more than usual to fill up their plastic pool, but that was until I read the words in red in the middle of the page. It says, "The Bay Restoration Fee has increased from $7.50 to $15.00 per quarter by passage of House Bill 446 and Senate Bill 240 by the Maryland State Legislature." My first untamed thoughts were, "Commies." That's right, as a veteran of 15 years in the U.S. Army National Guard, we often make jokes about those organizations or people who attempt to suppress freedom in America. Well, as much as it is a joke, it is sad. Let me guess, the cost of restoring the beautiful Chesapeake Bay has doubled in price over the last year. Or maybe, they just wait every four-to-five years to double it, to not make it an annual increase on the taxpayer. Really? When will it ever be enough?

What about the tolls in Maryland? Has anybody with a sane mind and keen eye noticed how long the Interstate 95 expansion from Moravia Road to White Marsh has taken? Not to mention the everlasting maintenance of the on and off ramps to I-695! I thought the speed cameras were supposed to mitigate the cost. Or let me guess, the regular 25-to-50 percent toll increases are happening to keep the tunnels clean and safe. Again, when will it ever be enough?

Should we even mention the out-of-touch gun legislation or sending the teacher's pensions back to the counties? The list goes on and on. But wait, it gets better. We still have one more session under this governor, and I'm guessing that the list will only be larger next year right when the campaign season is in full swing. At this rate, I guess anybody who calls the next Democratic ticket for governor, "O'Malley the 3rd," could have a really good chance to stir up the anger of the opposite party, just like President Barack Obama did in 2010.

I hope all of the informed voters out there are listening in Maryland and are tirelessly communicating to the less informed voters of what is really going on. I don't think we will become the next Detroit, but you better believe in the next five-to-10 years, if we keep raising taxes, fees and tolls, eventually the good government jobs won't be able to keep this state above water. I look to any Maryland political leader to finally stand up and say, "Enough is enough! Maryland taxpayers just can't take this any longer." It's not right and it's definitely not the Free State any more.

Adam Obest, Abingdon

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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