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Tax and spending cuts can have adverse impacts

A prevalent theme in The Baltimore Sun news and commentary recently, especially since the election of Larry Hogan as Maryland's next governor, has been cuts in taxes and fees for government supported services as well as state and local budget cuts ("After Hogan victory, local governments look to cut taxes and fees," Nov. 15). While I do not want to advocate for higher taxes and fees, I think it is important to take a fair minded look at the question of cutting taxes, fees and state and local government expenditures.

Politicians and political columnists often present the discussion of taxes, fees and budget expenditures as evil, arguing that less government is always best. For that matter, I am one who believes too much of anything isn't good and that one's strength, if taken to extremes, can be one's weakness. But the point is that there are two sides to every story.

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Listening to some politicians one would get the impression that their political adversaries were all about what taxes, fees and expenditures can we raise and what new expenditures can we create just for the sake of it. If it were that simple, we would easily be able to solve our problems. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Talk about wasteful spending all you want but most taxes, fees and government budgets support services to people.

Looking at the documented experiences of the states of Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin and others, tax, fees and budget cuts have been less than resounding successes, and such policies have benefited the well-off and hurt the least well-off when programs like public education have been severely cut.

So the bottom line here is to not assume that every tax, fee or budget cut is a good thing. The question that needs to be answered, if one is considering such cuts, is what is given up in the way of services, who is affected positively and negatively and who will absorb the resulting losses and accrue the possible gains due to cuts in services and taxes.

Joseph Costa, Baltimore

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