As a delegate, I urge the General Assembly to reject all proposed tax increases, no matter what they're called or where the revenue is supposed to go.

I will vote against any proposed gas tax increase, as well as any so-called tax reform proposals recommended by the Linowes Commission.

I think it ludicrous to even suggest a gas tax increase in light of the fact that the Persian Gulf crisis and the new 5-cent hike in the federal per-gallon tax on gas has already pushed the price of gas sky high to $1.40 per gallon on the lowest octane gas.

The Linowes recommendations to revamp Maryland's tax structure and raise $800 million in additional revenue, a whopping big tax increase for higher income earners and only a small savings for those who earn under $50,000 a year.

While, on the one hand, the proposals save two-thirds of the taxpayers money on their income tax and anywhere from 4 cents to 38 cents on the property tax rate, those savings are severely eroded by the proposals to increase the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5 percent and extend it to many exempted items and the proposal to slap a 2 percent personal property tax on all automobiles.

As I see it, the Linowes recommendations are merely a slick way to increase and expand the regressive sales tax and establish a new personal property tax that will hit everyone, rich or poor, who owns a car.

I find this unconscionable.

According to the plan, 45 percent of the $800 million in new revenue will go to education, 23 percent will pay for local transportation and infrastructure programs and another 23 percent will go toward funding state roads projects.

But when all is said and done, by cutting taxes here and increasing taxes there, the Linowes proposals realize a net gain of $800 million in tax revenue.

Any way you slice it, that's a tax increase for an awful lot of people.

The Linowes proposal to increase the corporate tax from 7 to 7 percent is as ill-conceived as it is shortsighted.

Whether one calls it an economic downturn or a downright recession, no one debates the fact that the economy is way off.

To purposely discourage business expansion and location with a tax increase at this borders on lunacy.

I am confident that the 1991 session will reject both the gas tax hike and the Linowes recommendations. However, they are sure to be back in 1992 for consideration.

I will vote against these hikes now and whenever they are reintroduced in the future.

Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, lives in Hampstead and chairs the county's legislative delegation.

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