Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is following the GOP's failed philosophy of trying to boost the state's economy by cutting taxes. Never mind that, according to Hogan, Maryland already has a significant deficit. Never mind that he has already proposed drastic cuts to education funding to help balance the budget, and that cutting taxes will only make it necessary to make more cuts on the backs of our children.
There is now overwhelming evidence that cutting state taxes does not grow a state's economy or create jobs. This experiment was tried on the national level by President George W. Bush, who cut taxes and then watched the federal budget surplus he inherited disappear. Oh, and then there was the Great Recession of 2008 -- so much for growing the economy by cutting taxes.
The evidence is also overwhelming at the state level, where Republican governors and legislatures have watched their states' deficits grow and their economies fail after big tax cuts. Then, in response to their recklessness, they cut education funding instead of restoring the revenue.
Hogan wants to cut Maryland K-12 education funding by $144 million because, according to his budget secretary, David Brinkley, "We want responsible budgeting here." But there is nothing responsible about cutting revenue while proposing massive cuts to our children's education.
Hogan is following the same failed formula of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Arizona Gov. Douglas Ducey of cutting state taxes, growing the state deficit and then cutting education funding to balance the budget on the back of the states' children.
Instead, Hogan should look at what Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton did when he inherited a $6.2 billion state deficit from Republican Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty cut state taxes to show his credentials as a presidential candidate. After eight years in office, Pawlenty left office with a 7 percent unemployment rate and a total of only 6,200 new jobs.
Dayton raised state taxes on the rich and raised the state minimum wage after he took office. Minnesota now has the fourth highest state income tax rate in the country. His actions were called a "jobs killer" by state Republicans. However, after four years in office, between 2011 and 2015, Minnesota added 172,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate dropped from 7 percent under Pawlenty to 3.6 percent under Dayton and the state now has a $1 billion surplus which it can invest into better schools, stronger infrastructure and better services for its citizens.
As a result, Forbes rates Minnesota the 9th best state in the nation for business. In the same study, Forbes rated Walker's Wisconsin, next door to Minnesota, one of the worst states to do business. When will Republicans learn that businesses want to locate in states that invest in education, infrastructure, technology and good services for citizens? Smart business men and women want the best schools for their own children. They also understand that to attract strong employees they need to be located in states with good schools and other family services.
Interestingly, Dayton's family founded Target department stores and he is a billionaire. Yet, he campaigned on higher taxes for the rich and investing 33 percent of the tax increase to the state's public education system.
Dayton's strategy has been a big success. Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, Louisiana, Arizona, Kentucky and other GOP states where taxes have been cut and education funding slashed, the deficits keep rising and job creation lags behind the national average.
Hopefully, Hogan will look at the data and update his economic plan for Maryland. Simply put, Marylanders want to keep our strong public education system and are willing to pay for it. If retired folks want to move to Pennsylvania to avoid taxes on their retirement, good riddance. They are not the folks who will be growing the economy in Maryland's future; our children, however, will.
Latest Carroll County Times Opinion
Tom Zirpoli writes from Westminster. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at email@example.com.