Maryland In Need Of Major Changes
Let’s consider the state of affairs of Maryland. Gov. O’Malley has shown that his philosophy of big government has turned Ehrlich’s billion dollar surplus into a deficit. He was so short of money that he needed to raid the transportation trust fund to the tune of $1.1 billion and then spend it on non-transportation projects. Ever wonder why the dangerous Route 113 in Worcester County is not finished? He is trying to recoup the money by levying other taxes on the rest of us (including businesses).
Politicians need to understand that every increase to the cost of doing business in this state is passed on to consumers. We pay, not the business directly. But when it becomes too expensive to do business in Maryland, businesses leave and we have, not only unemployment, but we lose the goods and services that that business provided. Unemployed people absorb taxes, not pay them. Del. Mike McDermott understands all this as he has shown as mayor of Pocomoke and delegate in the Maryland House.
Maryland used to rank 25th of the nation’s business friendly states. We are now 42nd since O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Brown took over. Business friendly state ratings are: Delaware, 14; Pennsylvania, 19; West Virginia, 23; and Virginia, 27.
Maryland had 11 Fortune 500 companies. Poultry operations were expanding. Only McCormick is left of the 11 companies. McCormick is now considering relocating to Pennsylvania. Oppressive requirements placed on our farmers have stifled the poultry industry’s growth. An example is the “Chicken Tax,” which proposes a 5% chicken tax. The “chicken tax” affects 46,000 Maryland jobs. We have lost over 6,500 businesses. Unemployment has increased 75% and spending increased over $10 billion. Since he took office, 40 taxes have increased, including the rain tax, sales tax, hospital bed tax, corporation tax, death and birth tax, tobacco tax, title tax, hotel rental and building excise taxes, higher tolls, the liquor tax, motor vehicle excise tax, and the flush tax has increased by 100%. This is nothing short of legalized extortion.
If O’Malley and our state legislatures needed money, they could have followed Pennsylvania’s extremely lucrative lead of drilling 54,347 wells for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation, since 2003 with no problems. This would have catapulted Maryland to prosperity.
Instead, pro-tax lawmaker O’Malley clones like Mathias, Conway and Brown chose to extort the money from citizens both directly and indirectly while voting down natural gas drilling. Gasoline taxes go up every July 1. We, in this immediate area, are not yet affected by the rain tax, which ridiculously taxes you on how much rain rolls off your roof and driveway. I said, “not yet.” How do big box stores like Wal-Mart deal with a tax dependent on how large their roofs and parking lots are? They increase the cost of their goods. Once again, we pay.
We have also become a state very friendly to illegal aliens, Common Core, (now disguised as Md. College & Career Ready Standards), same sex marriage, Obama care (leaving thousands without insurance), gun control, Agenda 21, and convicted felons. Why would people and businesses want to relocate in this state?
Dennis W Evans
Relieved To See
Pillas Not Running
It is welcome news that Council member Margaret Pillas will not be seeking reelection. She and the rest of the Hall regime plunged the city into chaos for two years in what will be remembered as one of the darkest and most contentious periods in city history. Throughout her tenure of office, she has had serious problems with the truth. It should come as no surprise that Tony Christ publically praises her as a “model example of a council person”, because she practices the same deceitful tactics that Tony employs. I will use my very limited experience with Council member Pillas to make my case.
The first time I spoke before the council about the vicious assault the former majority launched against the city employees in which they tried to strip us of a number of benefits. Pillas claimed that all the changes made did not affect existing employees and the changes they made were to protect the existing city employees. I did not believe her explanation, but refrained from calling a lady a liar in public. The record clearly shows that the former majority did try to strip the existing employees of a number of benefits and that Council Member Pillas was the one making the motions.
The mishandling of the 2012-2013 budget should be of concern to every Ocean City taxpayer. Mayor Meehan, as acting city manager, during this period saved the city over $850,000. Just before passing the budget, the former majority, at the 11th hour, decided to reduce the tax rate essentially giving the savings back to the taxpayers. This was done in a desperate attempt to win votes. The effect of this reckless move was to reduce the reserve fund right before hurricane season. Roughly four weeks later, Super Storm Sandy struck causing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. During the budget hearings the following year, the mayor and the new majority were forced to return the tax rate to what it was the previous year in order to make up for lack of funds. For this, the remaining elements of the former majority labeled the mayor and the new majority as “Big Spenders”. The facts show that they were the big savers and were the ones who were acting fiscally responsible.
Right before hurricane season that year, I was attending a council meeting and a citizen addressed the council on hurricane preparedness. Council Member Pillas grandstanded the subject by emphatically stating that money had been put aside in case of storm damage. Not to worry she assured us, she and the council were on top of the situation. I found this to be astonishing because it was her and her comrades who raided the reserve fund the prior year for purely political motives.
Finally, just before the election of 2012, I came before the vouncil to refute the false claim being spread by the former majority that the reason the general employees decided to seek collective bargaining was because the former city manager was a bad manager. We never said that and I went before the council and stated that was not the case. What I said that night and on a number of other occasions was that the former majority was the main reason the employees decided to seek collective bargaining. Before I was able to sit down, Council Member Pillas called me back and said there was an employee who approached her and stated that the former city manager was the reason. That night James Moxley was attending the meeting. He went before the council and stated that he was the employee who that spoke to Council Member Pillas about collective bargaining. He explained that he had never said that the former city manager was the reason the general employees decided to seek collective bargaining. Still she persisted and the entire audience just stared in disbelief shaking their heads. It was quite a disturbing scene, but what is more disturbing is how easy dishonesty comes to Council member Pillas.
Council member Pillas uses false statements, character assassinations, selective choice of data and an unwillingness to do adequate research. The same exact methods Tony Christ employees, is it any wonder that he holds her up as a model example of a council member? Good riddance Council member Pillas, When you leave in November, do us all a favor, take Tony Christ with you.
Greg De Marco
Tax Burdens, Declining
I came to Ocean City in 1954 with my family. I pay over $60,000 in taxes on property located in Ocean City, but the petition to reduce tax rates is not about me. I want to return Ocean City as a whole to prosperity. I want to see a vibrant economy with street-front vendors and no vacancies like when I was young. If we are unable to reduce expenses we will never see such an economy again and will keep destroying property values as the politicians increase tax rates in a vain attempt to raise revenues, including from cable TV, parking, transportation, water, etc.
During the last eight weeks, I have had the distinct pleasure, with my associates, of knocking on over 2,000 doors, making about 850 contacts and obtaining almost 800 signatures in support of a Charter Amendment to reduce the Ocean City real-estate tax rate back to the 2009 level of $.38 per $100 of assessed value. During that period I have been heartened by the stories I have heard. Almost 50% of everyone I talked to wants to leave Ocean City or is in the process of leaving Ocean City due to the expenses. City officials often cite New Jersey or other places where expenses are even higher as justification for the high taxes, or they talk about services that will be lost if there is less revenue. Many of these services were never requested by voters or taxpayers but were developed by the government as expensive and wasteful subsidies for special interests.
The petition to lower tax rates has three primary goals: to give people adequate relief to prevent them from moving out of Ocean City; to stop the five-year decline in property values; and to communicate to the public that we know we have priced Ocean City out of the market, and that we are bringing our costs down to compete for new residents and vacationers. The politicians and the bureaucrats that advise them are married to the notion of “constant return”: when property values fall, increase the tax to make up the difference. They have done this unsuccessfully for five years and our property values have fallen for five years, long after the end of the recession.
When we prevail in lowering the tax, we stimulate the economy and property values will go up. We will increase economic activity and inflows of residents and visitors, which will revitalize Ocean City. As a result, the government will take in more revenue. This will break the cycle of property values declining while taxes increase. Any short-term reduction in government to pay for the lower rate will be made up with an increased economy in 2 to 3 years.
There is another reality to the petition for a Charter Amendment which currently every elected political figure opposes. I often hear from our politicians that “the people don’t understand” or “the voters just want money back and are not responsible.” The fact is that the petition will remind the politicians who their boss is: We, the People.
Unless politicians are reminded, they forget who they work for. It is an essential part of our democratic process to elect representatives. However, if we believe that those elected are spending too much, increasing expenses excessively, we the people have every right to remind them who their boss is.