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An Open Door for Tax Hikes

Every time we have a gubernatorial election, we have candidates who are tripping all over themselves trying to close the door on tax increases. Candidates on both sides of the aisle will talk about their programs, with Republicans usually talking about how they are going to cut your taxes, and Democrats usually hoping you don’t notice their tax hike proposals.

But it is rare for a candidate to leave the door open for a tax hike.
An advocacy group called Purple Line NOW! hosted an Forum  on Transportastion with some of the gubernatorial candidates this past Tuesday, February 18th at Montgomery College. They posted a video online of the debate and something very interesting happens startomg at the 38:30 mark:

In case you missed it or can’t open the video, here is what he said:

CHARLES LOLLAR: Above and beyond all of that, because it sounds great, whether it’s the Purple Line in Montgomery County, or the Red Line potentially coming up in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, none of this can be done if we raid the transportation trust fun year after year after year after year. It’s a real problem, whether you want to wake up in the morning and have the conversation or not. One thing I did agree with with was one of the comments earlier is that this should not be a campaign for high school president. It’s gonna have to be a campaign you’re gonna have to take real hard and serious. You know my mother used to say this all the time, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Sometimes we have a hard time doing that because we have love the people that we elect so much. But I’m gonna challenge you, I’m gonna challenge you. To take a look at the the the the candidates out there, specifically myself if I can be selfish. and I want to know that although we’re going to be able to get these types of lines done, we’re going to do it without raiding the transportation trust fund, we’re going to exercise, no beep first, we’re going to exercise command, leadership, that says we will not pass a tax bill without an enforceable lock box placed upon it, to ensure that you can no longer take tax bills once they’re passed and rob one fund to another.

Emphasis mine.

Now there are a lot of moving parts to this clip, and even a lot of moving parts to that one sentence. Obviously, the fact that Lollar is not ruling out signing a tax increase as Governor under all circumstances is going to give pause to whatever Republican primary voters may still be considering him.

Also remember, Charles Lollar has been touting the idea of eliminating the income tax in Maryland. Given the fact that he has yet to get past that first sentence and say what his plan is and how he will balance the budget does he plan to introduce taxes to replace the income tax?

Third is Lollar’s history with tax issues. One of the ideas that Lollar has floated in this campaign has been the idea of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR. To boil it down to its most simplest terms, TABOR says that States will not allow tax revenue increases to outpace inflation without being approved by the voters at a referendum. Additionally, Lollar has a history with Americans for Tax Reform. When he ran for Congress in 2010, Lollar sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge which pledges the signer to oppose new taxes if they are elected to Congress. While Lollar has not signed the state-level version of the plege in 2014, I for one would be curious as to why he changed his mind.

To be fair to Lollar, he has not signed any taxpayer pledges in 2014. Nor would his idea of higher taxes attached to an enforceable lock box violate his idea for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. However, it is a strangely curious proclaimation to make while in Montgomery County, as the only Republican on the state, and in front of an audience that would generally be hostile to Republican ideas and principles.

Charles Lollar’s statements at this form make him the only Republican candidate to open the door to tax increases. None of the other Republican candidates for Governor have proposed raising any taxes or signing and new taxes into law regardless of the circumstances.






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