Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's campaign for governor says in a new commercial that Maryland is squeezing its middle class with new taxes, and that he has identified more than $1.5 billion in state government waste.
The Democrat's ad touts a waste-cutting plan that is described on his campaign website. The website says significant savings would be achieved by reforming state procurement ($350 million), boosting Medicaid recovery efforts ($231 million) and reducing the non-violent prison population ($222.5 million).
The ad – which appears on television in the Baltimore and Washington markets – says Gansler would eliminate the waste "and use the money for people." A version of the ad will also run on radio in the Washington market.
The ad says that in the past eight years, Maryland has enacted "40 new taxes" affecting the middle class. The ad highlights just a few of them -- a 3.5 cent rise in the state's gas tax, and a rise in toll rates by as much as 50 percent in 2013.
When Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the transportation bill a year ago, he announced $1.2 billion in projects made possible by the new gas-tax revenue. The additional money helped the state with major highway projects and an expansion of MARC Penn Line commuter train service to weekends, among other initiatives.
Tax increases under O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown are often raised by the administration's GOP critics. Brown is also running for governor in the June 24 Democratic primary.
An analysis by the Department of Legislative Services found 50 measures from the 2007 through the 2013 sessions that raised significant revenues. The measures included hikes in various taxes, fees and assessments.
The most significant increased resulted from a 2007 special legislative session. O'Malley called the session to acquire new state revenues to address a projected deficit of $1.5 billion for fiscal 2009.