Recently, Republican candidate for governor Charles Lollar gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he touted his idea to eliminate Maryland's income tax. Mr. Lollar, however, has not issued a detailed plan explaining how he would offset the revenue generated by the state's income tax, which represents over half of all the general fund revenue taken by the state. Mr. Lollar simply states that he "is confident that the loss in revenue can be offset by the economic impact of recruiting more businesses to the state."
We at Red Maryland noted months ago that Mr. Lollar has staked out the most agressive anti-tax ground of any candidate for governor but had no detailed ideas on how or where to reduce state spending. Mr. Lollar's desire to eliminate the state's income tax in its entirety, without any detailed plan, seems to highlight the criticism of the Lollar campaign's lack of gravitas. While soudning good to the ears of anti-tax conservatives, Mr. Lollar's inability to answer the obvious questions about how such a plan would work reminds one of the expression "all sizzle and no steak."
(Note: the editors of Red Maryland have endorsed Republican Larry Hogan in the governor's race.)
Mr. Lollar's boldness on the tax issue does not stop with his unassembled plan to eliminate Maryland's income tax. Mr. Lollar has made a point of saying that his plan is far bolder than that of Republicans in the General Assembly, who are proposing a 5 percent cut in the state's income tax in this year's session. Mr. Lollar has even posted a campaign picture with the following quote from the Post "Lollar's income tax plan is far more aggressive than anything being contemplated by Republicans in the General Assembly this year."
Republicans in the General Assembly have taken notice of Mr. Lollar's ploy and have been quick to take exception. Del. Warren Miller, a Howard County Republican and one of the most anti-tax members of the House, was quick to comment on Facebook: "So your [sic] running against Republicans in the General Assembly?"
Needless to say, Mr. Lollar will need the assistance of other Republicans in Annapolis not only to get elected but to enact his plans if he were elected. He should not be surprised that assembly Republicans are not proposing a half-baked plan to eliminate the state's income tax. Instead, House Republicans have proposed specific tax cuts and an alternative budget with spending reductions. Like responsible elected officials, assembly Republicans are demonstrating an ability to actually govern.
Rather than picking a fight with is fellow Republicans fighting for taxpayers in Annapolis, perhaps Mr. Lollar should spend his time actually fleshing out his tax proposals and demonstrating how they could be implemented. Until he does so, Mr. Lollar will only continue to demonstrate the he remains unready to be a serious contender for the office of governor of Maryland.
Clarification: This article was revised to indicate that the characterization of Lollar's income tax plan from the Washington Post that he highlighted on Facebook was not a direct quotation from the candidate.
--Greg Kline is a co-founder and contributing editor for Red Maryland, which has strived to be the premier blog and radio network of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the free state since 2007. A Maryland attorney, Greg was part of the legal team that defeated the General Assembly's effort to fire the Public Service Commission in 2006. He is a former Republican candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates and for chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. His Red Maryland posts appear here regularly.