Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, has said he is strongly opposed to any proposed tax increases to offset the ever-expanding operating budget deficits.

Budget deficits of $300 million for the current fiscal year and $675 million for the coming fiscal year have beenpredicted by the state's fiscal experts.

"I believe that we can balance the budget without a tax increase," Matthews said. "It's not going to be easy, but it can be done. Instead of

looking for ways to stick government's hand in the taxpayers' pocket again, we should direct our energies toward redefining and restricting government's role," he said.

"We should determine whatis rightly government's role in our lives, what problems it must address, what needs must it meet," he said.

"Once and for all, we must accept the hard, cold fact of life that government cannot be all things to all people because the taxpayers of this state cannot afford for government to play that role any longer."

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