From: Mary McNally Rose
On Jan. 30, I spoke before a joint session of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Committee on Ways and Means. I did so because I believe we still have fat in the bureaucracy that needs to be cut and we do not need additional taxes.
The Republican proposal for a balanced budget without additional taxes is both realistic and viable. Maryland taxpayers cannot withstand additional taxes, particularly during these difficult times of recession.
Nationally, when we look for economic recovery, we cut taxes, not raise them assome liberal Democrats would have us do here in Maryland. We must take this opportunity to improve government service and permanently downsize our bureaucracy, which has grown to unacceptable levels. Over-centralized government is counterproductive. We need to have more front-lines employees serving the public and less top-level, high-salaried bureaucrats. Government must run more efficiently.
This can be done with sound management practices. As clerk of the Circuit Court, Iassumed office with what would have been a $200,000 deficit. I eliminated that shortfall and ended FY91 with a surplus. If I can do it, other state offices can, too.
We must not repeat the national blunder of the 1990 budget deal: a $170 billion tax increase, federal spending increased 20 percent above the rate of inflation and a federal government that now consumes 25 percent of the GNP, compared to 22.3 percent when Ronald Reagan left office.
Raising taxes during a recession is the modern equivalent of the outdated medical practice of bleeding a patient to speed his recovery. Bleeding the patient did not work then and bleeding the economy will not work now!
I find it totally unacceptable to begin the baseline budget with a 17 percent increase from the FY 1992 budget. In times of recession, we should be considering a decrease in spending, not an increase.
The now-common practice of the federal government setting mandates on states and nowthe state setting additional mandated spending is unwise and should stop. As President Bush has called for an end to federal-mandated spending, we should end most state-mandated spending. We do not have theresources available during this recession to provide the "BMW" when the "Ford Escort" will do.
When I hear the talk about "tax fairness," I have to wonder, how is increasing and expanding the sales tax, increasing the gasoline tax, expanding the sales tax to include automobile repairs and increasing local taxes fair? Are higher taxes really fair? Is being the "third-worst taxed state" in the United States "tax" fairness?" I think not.
We are not going to speed economic recovery in Maryland by increasing taxes during a recession.
For thetaxpayers of Maryland, middle class and poor, blue collar and white collar, we need relief from the stifling, unproductive effects of high state taxes in Maryland.
AWARD SCHOLARSHIPS FAIRLY
From: Lucia M. Atlas
$6.4 million -- in this time of budgetary shortfall -- has been made available to members of the Maryland General Assembly to award legislative scholarships.
While it is certainly important to make scholarship money available to needy Maryland students who wish to attend college, it is equally important the scholarships be awarded in a fair and professional way.
That legislators are not always successful in doing this is shown by the fact that in recent years some 1,200 young people whose families earn $50,000 or more have received scholarships; a number of these recipients had familyincomes of more than $100,000 (Figures from the Common Cause/MD study).
Maryland is the only state to use this outmoded and idiosyncratic method of awarding scholarships.
In the interests of fairness and irreproachability, I urge Anne Arundel countians to be in touch with their legislators to request support of HB 116, a bill now under consideration in the House, which would remove these scholarship funds from legislative jurisdiction and place the awards process in the hands of the General State Scholarship Program, the agency responsiblefor administering other scholarship money. This is where all the state scholarship funds belong.
SPORTS TRAINERS MALIGNED
From: Kimberly J. Wolfe, A.T.C.
Certified athletic trainer
In response to Pat O'Malley's Jan. 24 article, "A healthy outlook on sports," I wouldlike to commend the work of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center's athletic trainers. However, I would like to point out one oversight by Mr. O'Malley.
In his article, he states, "Despite the generosityand community commitment on the part of the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center . . . they are not free of detractors or impostors." This implies that anyone who is not employed by the mentioned practice is some kind of second-hand snake-oil salesman. This is simply not true.
There are several organizations within the county who donate qualified individuals for the sake of our young athletes. I, for example, am an employee of Fine, Bryant & Wah Physical Therapy, and I volunteer my expertise and services to Glen Burnie High School. I hold a four-year degree in sports medicine and am certified by the National Athletic Trainers' Association. I consider myself neither an "impostor," nor a "copy cat."
Mr. O'Malley has done a grave injustice to the sports medicine community by limiting his research and slanting his praise toward an individual practice. It is the collective efforts of all athletic trainers and those involved in sports medicine that will better amateur athletics in Anne Arundel County.
In the future, I hope that Mr. O'Malley would follow a basic rule of writing -- use more than one source of information.