Legislature Keeps On Taking More Of Our Money

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The cost of everything is going up these days, from fuel, cable service and electric rates to the cost of a drink, health insurance and home repair and service jobs.

That’s why we are amazed the Maryland General Assembly approved a slew of consumer fee and tax increases during this year’s session.

The most egregious of all the hikes was the irresponsible and ill-advised 50-percent jump in the state’s alcohol tax (a 9-percent sales tax will soon be implemented on all drinks, rather than the current 6 percent), which epitomized backroom dealings and explains why some state lawmakers have earned their sleazy reputation.

Other fee increases include a hike in the cost to apply for a birth certificate, an increase in the amount charged for a vanity license plate and a higher charge to record property transactions in the state. There are numerous other fee increases as well that we will only learn about once they are presented to us at the time of payment.

While there are encouraging signs that the economy is improving, generally, it’s worth remembering there are many still struggling financially in many ways. That’s why these fee and tax hikes, coupled with all the other costs rising due to conditions beyond any of our control, is so disturbing.

The bottom line here is it’s getting more expensive to live. Economists call it the cost of living, and no matter how you refer to it, the fact is living is becoming more expensive, and there appears to be no changes ahead.

What’s troubling here is most legislators are not getting it. What they have done is further boost the cost of living for many with these fee increases and take more money out of the pockets of businesses with the alcohol tax hike that could, at least locally, send customers elsewhere.

All the while the budget is still so tight employees can’t get raises and are constantly being asked to do more with less. The same goes for businesses, which continue to generally face declining gross sales and increased fixed costs.

This is no longer a trend, it’s an unfair and troubling way of life, and it stinks. It would not be so disturbing if the majority of this state’s lawmakers simply could make decisions to help Marylanders, rather than consistently hurt us.

Most of the legislators are simply out of touch and not aware of what’s happening in our households. Otherwise, they would stop putting their hands in our pockets every year and taking and taking more and more.

With each legislative session seems to come a cut in pay for Maryland residents and businesses, and there comes a time when enough is enough, and we are way beyond that point today.

About The Author: Steven Green

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(The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004.)