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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Let's really talk about this.  Let's not even worry about who is at fault, but let's look at the solution and what happened.

  1. We had a budget deficit.
  2. We knew we had a budget deficit for a while, as was stated in the comments to my last post on the subject.
  3. We knew we had a budget deficit BEFORE the last regular general assembly met, which ended in April.
  4. We didn't fully address the deficit THEN, so we had to do a special session, which COST a bunch more money, ADDING TO THE DEFICIT.
  5. The 2-week special session lasted 3+ weeks, COSTING US MORE MONEY.
  6. SLOTS could help the deficit, but the voters are going to vote on it, so we're not even VOTING on it until 11/2008.  In the meantime, Former Gov. Ehrlich wanted slots THREE YEARS AGO, but the democrats opposed it and wouldn't even send it to referendum, so while that might have helped us to reduce the deficit over a minimum of the last year, now we're waiting even longer.
  7. Several people who were opposed to slots while Ehrlich was governor have now CHANGED THEIR STANCE... ??  Politics!
  8. They waffled about what they were going to tax.  It ended up that a bunch of stuff got both taken out and put into the bill at the LAST MINUTE when no one could lobby.
Computer consulting is now being taxed at 6%.  STARTING JANUARY FIRST.  Now, I'm not a consultant right now, but I have been in the past.  Let's think about what this means for a consultant.
  1. Starting in a mere FORTY-TWO days, they will have to start charging their clients a 6% sales tax, or else pay it out of pocket. 
  2. Consultants are easily dispensable, and tend to get fired quickly.  6% is a lot.  Customer doesn't want to pay, then guess what?  You're paying out of pocket.  So, while the Baltimore Sun claims that Martin O'Malley was trying to tax "Big Corporations," they can simply choose not to pay by either having their consultants pay it themselves or fire their consultants.  Neither hurts "big corporations" all that much.
  3. Then guess what?  They pay THAT, which amounts to income tax if the customer won't pay, or else they lower their rates, and then THEY PAY AN ADDITIONAL 1% SALES TAX ON WHAT THEY PURCHASE!!!
  4. Not to mention that income tax is going up also.
Computer professionals are already having trouble keeping their jobs, because so many are going overseas.  This is only going to make it worse, and what's more, it's happening almost over night.

ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TELLING ME THAT THERE WAS NO WHERE ELSE TO CUT SPENDING??????????????  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.  This bill even includes expanding health coverage.  DO NOT expand spending while you introduce the largest tax hike in Maryland history.  It is TOTAL INSANITY.

From the Washington Post... "House leaders want to double the state's hotel tax from 5 to 10 percent, a provision not in the Senate bill. The proceeds would be directed to a new fund that would pay for tourism, arts and cultural initiatives."  WHAT?????  WHAT WHAT WHAT?????????????  Are you f*cking kidding me???  Art and culture?  Yeah, because people are already tripping over themselves to visit MARYLAND, I'm sure doubling the tax would help...  And who the hell increases art and tourism spending when you're trying to cut the budget??  Would this spending be like the commercials I've seen for California and Louisiana lately advertising THEM?  Do you really think people go, "well shit, I'm going to California now!"  OMG, I can hardly type straight.

But see, if this bill ends up eliminating jobs for people like me, it will do so indirectly, so the politicians won't be directly at fault/blamed.  We don't want to cut spending by eliminating jobs directly, after all. 

Maryland reminds me of the over-spending slacker with too much credit card debt... In order to pay the debt, he doesn't stop buying things, going to bars and partying!  Oh, no, he asks all of his relatives for money. 

I'm so disgusted.  Some of my computer friends are talking about moving out of state.  I am, as always, considering Florida as an alternative (except Florida will be underwater soon...).  At least I can go ahead and vote to kick these dickheads out of power.

Maybe I'm not as liberal as I thought.


Wacky Neighbor said...

I think there's a significant difference between liberalism - a philosophy of governance based on individual rights and liberty and equal treatment before the law - and this (this being bad governance). I am also very disappointed in this entire process; while acknowledging that this was not easy and that many people were likely going to be unhappy as a result, I don't think they made the best trade-offs. (And it probably doesn't make future decisions any easier, either.)

That said, I think this is the sorry state of American governance in both parties. Politicians don't want to make choices, and the few politicians who do get criticized for doing it.

Bartlett for America.

Sandra said...

I'm thinking of becoming a libertarian. Or was it a librarian. I don't remember where I was going with this... oh, yeah, it isn't a party thing, it's common sense. Citizens deserve a level of transparency by our gov. but we can now see how ethically degraded it exponentially becomes.

Nick said...

Yeah, Kim I'm also looking at states other than Taxamaryland as places to relocate to. PA is looking interesting.

Gotta get the MLS first.

Kim said...

I was thinking more along the lines of Liberal/Dem = big government/more taxes and Conservative/Republican = smaller government/less taxes...

Or as my friend Lance says, "who cares, they're all pirates."

Libertarian does appeal to me, except for the whole gun thing. Every libertarian I've ever known has been big into guns.

Sandra said...

Hmmm. I am going to be purchasing a gun soon...

Mary said...

First off, I should probably say that my eyes tend to glaze over immediately when people start to complain about taxes. My view on this is largely explained by the three years working for the state where I regularly fielded calls from people who were demanding increased services but showed a distinct unwillingness to pay for them.

That being said, the passed proposal is pisspoor policy of the highest order, but I have a hard time getting overly upset about it. The more I look at the bill in detail, the more that a lot of the complaints look like more heat than light. Given the steep cuts of the first year of Ehrlich's term, a lot of state agencies are just getting back to the funding levels that they had in 2002 once one accounts for inflation. At a certain point, cutting the budget is either counterproductive or just doesn't get you far enough to really address the underlying problem. In general, it makes a lot more sense to raise revenue rather than debate over whether to cut cleaning costs for state rest areas out of the tourism initiative.

The 6% sales tax basically puts us on par with all of the surrounding states except for Delaware. So far as the income tax goes, one analysis I saw noted that even if one's household made over $200K yearly, the increased tax bill would be about $340 for the year. Households earning $100K yearly would pay about $124 more. I just can't work up any righteous indignation over that.

dd22 said...

To Mary:
The one thing you forget is that just because people want want want, doesn't mean they should get get get. Your premise that because people whine about wanting more services from the gov't, we need to pay for it doesn't address the alternative of saying "NO". The "underlying problem" as you state is NOT a problem with funding, it's a problem with SPENDING. As someone who has first hand knowledge of the utter waste of Baltimore City gov't, I can only imagine how bad it is on the state level. Politicians will always pull the card about how not raising taxes or cutting the budget will take food out of someone's mouth or cause us to have uneducated kids. That argument is false and overused. I bet I can find a ton more stuff to cut that won't hurt anyone except maybe some pet project fat cat. And also, as for putting us at "par" with surrounding states... WTF do we need to be the same as higher priced states?? What logic is that? Oh, because a bordering state is raping their citizens, we should follow suit?? Finally, for anyone else... stop blaming Erlich. There were enough Dems in the legislature to override anything "bad" they thought he did. How can you blame basically a lame duck gov? The Dems have had more than enough time (and votes) to steer this nightmare of a state any way they want. Sheesh! I thought NJ was bad. :(

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