Every once in a while, Democrats surprise me and introduce legislation in the General Assembly that actually works for Maryland taxpayers.
Surprising nobody, the Democrats in the House of Delegates have unveiled an election-year tax-cut package. It primarily relates to child care and medical items. Some of the items that Democrats want to exempt include diapers, baby bottles, infant car seats, certain thermometers, and blood pressure monitors.
Look, we all know that this package is an election-year gimmick designed to say that Democrats have cut taxes for working Marylanders. We all know what the truth really is, Democrats have continued to push for higher and higher taxes on Marylanders across the economic spectrum. Just look at the Netflix Tax, among other things.
Yet just because something is a political gimmick doesn’t necessarily make it bad policy. In this case, I think the Democrats are correct. Items necessary for raising kids and protecting your health should be exempt from sales tax and with good reason. Those items are basic necessities for people to live.
I’ve got three kids. We buy a lot of diapers, baby wipes, and other disposable, necessary items. We have no problem affording them even with the sales tax applied. Lots of Marylanders are not so lucky. The curse of inflation and higher costs of living in Maryland, thanks to years of Democratic tax hikes and overspending, makes it hard for some to afford these basic necessities. Maybe some families will be able to afford to have more children.
This is the most pro-life legislation from Maryland Democrats in decades.
Do the Democrats gain politically from it? Maybe, but as far as I’m concerned it just shows Marylanders how heavily they are taxed; getting pennies in return hardly makes the case Democrats think it will.
Regardless of the politics of it all, this bill should be a slam-dunk. Both parties should pass it unanimously and send it to the governor for his signature. This one is a no-brainer.
One of the other quality pieces of legislation is HB 506 and SB 603. Sponsored respectively by Del. Lily Qi and Sen. Cory McCray, the bills’ propose an amendment to the state constitution to allow retail grocery stores to be licensed to sell beer and wine. As a constitutional amendment, voters would need to approve the amendment during this fall’s election.
If you have ever purchased beer or wine outside of the state of Maryland, you know that most states allow you to do so at grocery stores. Is the selection as good as at specialty stores? No, but most people just want to be able to pick up a bottle or a six-pack on their grocery trip. Other than for a few stores that are able to do so through a grandfather clause, that isn’t allowed in Maryland.
Maryland has long suffered from a byzantine alcohol-sales process that requires brewers to sell their products to a distributor who must sell it to a store. While the amendment does not address that racket, this does make beer and wine more susceptible to competitive forces. That will make the market more competitive for consumers and will provide more opportunities for local stores and local brewers and wineries to sell their goods. Another win-win.
It isn’t often that I get to praise Democrats for introducing common-sense, pro-taxpayer legislation like this. Hopefully, more Democrats will actually be willing to stand up for taxpayers in the future.
Brian Griffiths is the publisher of The Duckpin (TheDuckpin.com). He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BrianGriffiths, or on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok @briangriffithsmd.