This year's Maryland General Assembly session has led me to conclude the people who control our state government truly are out of touch with folks like me and, I suspect, many of you reading this column. (As if most of you hadn't decided this long ago, right?)
OK, I think we can reasonably debate the merits of gun control, although given the high rate of crime in this state, one truly has to wonder if more gun control is the answer, especially when it's never hard for the criminals to get guns if they need them.
How anyone in their right mind can support repealing the death penalty, however, makes no sense. Yes, I know it's been rarely used and death penalty foes will argue ad infinitum that it's no deterrent to murder but, seriously, do you think it's right for cold-blooded killers like Vernon Evans and Anthony Grandison, the poster boys for why we need the death penalty, to be able to go to sleep at night now and know that someday there won't be an executioner's needle waiting for them in the morning? Come on, who are the governor and the legislators who voted for repeal kidding?
Then, there's the gasoline tax increase, yet another higher tax in a state which is taxing its hard working citizens to death, even as it won't legally execute murderers. Once again, the governor and legislature have engaged in another exercise in legal larceny, taxing us folks in Harford County to pay for mass transit in Baltimore City and Prince George's and Montgomery counties and maybe for a road improvements somewhere else than in Harford.
It's downright disheartening how three jurisdictions in this state control the votes - and hence the money - and the rest of us exist to be revenue cannon fodder. Prince George's and Baltimore City schools are the biggest financial drain on the state budget other than Medicaid, and there's similarities between all three. In the not too distant future, I predict we will begin to hear more about problems in Montgomery County schools, when their money can't keep up with the associated problems of educating a large and growing population of students whose first language isn't English.
Either this week or next, Harford County government will enact a new stormwater fee, mandated previously by the General Assembly and governor. The likely cost to every home is $125 a year. You will soon be paying state-mandated fees to flush your toilet and to allow water to run off your roof and driveway. What's next, a fee (all fees are taxes) to breathe the air in our homes?
Seriously, what's coming next from Annapolis to tax our lives? A sales tax increase? An income tax increase? Higher vehicle registration fees? Oh, I forgot, the current group has already foisted those on us. Surely, the late George Harrison could have been talking about Maryland when he wrote:
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
I'm not so foolish to believe our state government will change for the better. There's an election next year, but as long as the legislature continues to be led by the likes of Michael Busch and Mike Miller, it probably doesn't matter whom we elect governor. O'Malley will be gone, of course, but none of the prospective successors, Democrat or Republican, excites me to the point I would expect to see a change in attitude about taxes and spending.
Frankly, Maryland should be ripe for a good old-fashioned taxpayer revolt, one where everyone, regardless of political persuasion, says "enough is enough, live within your means."
In other words, throw the bums out — all of them.
This article is updated from an earlier version to reflect a correction: "Taxman" was written by the late George Harrison.