District 3A needs a Delegate with sound economical judgment, who will help rein in the State’s out-of-control spending
I can say “No!”
I believe the biggest campaign issue this year will be the State’s out-of-control spending. This year the State Legislature will pass and the Governor will sign a $39 billion budget, which is $1.5 billion more than last year’s budget. This increased burden is only paid for by increasing State revenues and/or by shifting to the counties the burden to pay for it. This year’s $1.5 billion increase is irresponsible; it means an increased tax burden of $250 per person this coming year. ($1.5 Billion divided by 6 million residents of MD = $250.) This is the 8th budget of the O’Malley Administration. Each year his budgets have increased in size by about $1 billion. The Legislature has approved all of them. This represents an increased tax burden of $166/person/year OR $1,328/person over the eight years of his administration.
These tax increases are not economically sustainable. They cannot be justified. They come from a Legislature that just can’t say “No” to requests to expand government services to meet newly identified needs. This “can’t say no” culture must change. District 3A needs to elect someone who can say no.
Increased State funding mandates are hurting businesses and families.
Not only has the Legislature increased the sales tax, the gasoline tax, the cigarette tax, the alcohol tax, and at least another dozen taxes and fees, but the Legislature also cut Highway User Funds to Frederick County in the amount of $12 million/year, and the Legislature has shifted to the County (“shared” is the word the Legislature used) a $7 million/year obligation to fund teacher pensions. These pressures directly impact the County budget and County taxes. Only through taking extraordinary measures has the Frederick Board of County Commissioners been able to avoid increasing county taxes.
As bad as this increased tax burden is for Maryland citizens, the State intends to make it even worse. In Frederick County, the State is prepared to require the County to pay an additional $19 million/year for stormwater discharge permits (an increase from $3.5 m to $22.5m/year). It is estimated that this will amount to an additional $500/year on every property tax bill. Current State policies unfairly penalize Frederick County and ignore the major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay—water from the Susquehanna River coming over the Conowingo Dam.
The State of Maryland leads the nation in enacting environmental policies to clean our air and water. We can be proud of this. But some of our policies are so much more restrictive and expensive than that of our neighboring states that those policies hurt us economically, and ultimately those policies even fail in their intended environmental goals. We need sound, cost-effective policies that are evenly applied in all of the Chesapeake Bay watershed states. Maryland produces 20% of the water that flows into the Bay, therefore Maryland should bear 20% of the responsibility to clean Bay waters—but not a disproportionate, extra burden. For three years I have taken a leading role around the state in educating citizens and leaders on the serious flaws in the State stormwater retrofit program, and encouraging adoption of scientific ally sound, cost-effective and fairly allocated regulations to clean our streams.
National economic growth is flat.
During the last six years the stock market has eventually recovered from the crash of 2008, with the help of continued, federal borrowing. Thus, the economic recovery is limited at best, and real growth has been flat. While the nation’s economy has achieved modest stability, the Maryland Legislature has been steadily increasing the tax burdens on its citizens—increasing taxes at a rate that exceeds the taxpayers’ ability to pay.
State tax increases must stop!
These unrestrained tax increases must stop! If they do not, it will impair many businesses and destroy some of them. It will cause businesses to leave the state. It will cause property values to drop. It will cause foreclosures to increase. It will cause increased unemployment. It will cause dire financial problems for individuals and for local governments. Even the strength of the federal government work market will not be enough to stop the financial disaster that continued tax increases will cause.
We must say “No” to some tax-funded programs.
I have a record of support for legitimate government services for the needy, but I have also shown that I have the backbone to say no to requests for funding that are excessive or unfair. One example is my vote to sell the Citizens/Montevue Nursing Home. Despite vocal opposition, I voted to sell this facility because it was an overly expensive program that helped only a select few needy seniors. The $2+ million/year of funds that have been going to Montevue should be fairly allocated among all of the hundreds of needy seniors, not given to just 60 seniors. Similarly, my vote to pull Frederick County from the Head Start program was the fiscally responsible thing to do. It freed up over $1 million/year of County funds, and operation of the program was transferred to a non-profit organization. Both of these decisions have evoked considerable outcry from various interest groups. But I believe it was the right thing to do. (Frederick County was the only county in the State that was funding and operating a nursing home and a Head Start program.) On the State level, the same thing will happen. There will be great pressure to grant every funding request. But we need a Delegate who has the wisdom to decide between the appropriate and the excessive expenditures. And we need a Delegate who has the courage to say no to the excessive ones.
We must say “Yes” to some State funding for transportation.
One area of state funding that must continue is the maintenance and improvement of the State transportation system. Now that the planning and building of the Monocacy Blvd. interchange on US 15 is going forward, we must work to secure state funding for other transportation projects:
- Adding extra lanes on US 15 in Frederick City (at Patrick St., Rosemont Ave. & 7th St.),
- An extra westbound lane on I-70 (from the I-270 interchange to Mt. Phillips Road),
- Adding extra lanes on the Ballenger Creek Pike bridge over US 340,
- Improvements on Rt. 85 from the I-270 interchange south,
- Improvements on Rt. 75, and
- Added lanes on I-270.
Paul Smith offers the right leadership to help Frederick.
Paul’s leadership will help Frederick continue to thrive by establishing business-friendly policies, checking the excessive growth of taxes, and funding key road improvements. Paul’s style of leadership breaks down barriers and builds consensus around sound policies.