Well mercifully the 431st session of the Maryland General Assembly just adjourned sine die. And what do we as a state have to show for ourselves?
Well, some of the “accomplishments” of this year’s General Assembly include:
The decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana;
Passed the gradual increase of the minimum wage to $10.10/hour by 2018;
Outlawed discrimination of individuals based on their being transgendered;
Passed a $39 billion budget, a $2 billion increase in spending over last year;
Tightened restrictions on texting while driving;
Recoupled the Estate Tax to the federal Estate Tax rate.
And those really are the most notable “accomplishments” of this year’s General Assembly session. And as usual, it shows how little of a priority the legislative leadership in Annapolis puts on governing and improving the standard of living in this state.
Maryland’s economy is continuing to struggle due to onerous taxation and job-killing regulations. Did the General Assembly take any steps to try to reduce the tax burden on middle and working class families? No. Did they work to reduce the tax burden on businesses that could create good-paying jobs for Maryland’s worksforce? No. Did they work to roll back red tape and reduce regulations that cost businsesses time and resources? No. In fact, the only action that the General Assembly took that immediately impacts jobs here in the state was to raise the minimum wage, which is going to have the imapct of putting lower-skilled, lower-wage workers out of work by making it more cost prohibitve to employ them.
At a time in which Maryland elected officials needed to be focused on making Maryland a more affordable place to live and work, they decided to do the exact opposite.
It isn’t just the lack of focus on economic issues which showed how adrift these legislators were. At the same time in which the General Assembly was talking about legalziging the sale and possession of marijuana, they forced through legislation that bans the production and sale of moonshine in our state. How can somebody possible rationalize their support for both of these bills? How can the Democrats in Annapolis be both for banning what is currently a legal substance while at the same time being for legalizing a substance that is currently banned by Federal law? What kind of cognitive dissonance is that?
One of the biggest failures and wastes of state money in recent memory has been the launmch of the State Obamacare exchange. Over $125 million wasted, flushed away due to mismanagement throughout the responsibile agencies withing state government. Did the General Assembly take any appropriate action to fix the problem? No. Did the General Assembly conduct anything resembling an investigation about the management of Obamacare implemtnation in Maryland? No. They couldn’t possibly do that at a time in which Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is running for Governor and would put them in the awkward position of looking into the catastrophic failure to lead of the guy most of them have endorsed as their party standard bearer.
Our state is being mismanaged. Our state is spending too much money. Our state is taxing our citizens and our businesses too much. And our state is ensuring that our businesses can’t create jobs because it costs too much money to do business in the state…..well, unless you are politically-connected Hollywood types who can threaten to skip town if their ransom is not met. But none of that seems to matter much to the Democrats here in Annapolis who are going to do what they want, and when they want to do it.
(Of course, those Democrats sometimes get an assist from Republicans like David Brinkley who take a perverse pride in voting for left-wing budgets and try to pretend that there is some sort of conservative justification for doing so, but I don’t think he will get an opportunity to do that next year…)
Folks, for taxpayers of Maryland, this General Assembly session has been 90 days of Hell. We’ve been forced to watch the members of this Legislature fail time and time again to tackle the big issues such as spending, taxes, regulation, and job creation. Instead, they have focused on the expansion of government, the petty issues of crime and punishment, and raising the cost of doing business in Maryland. There is no concern for the people. There is no concern for fiscal restraint. And there is no concern for making sure that state government is run effectively and efficiently.
But you can do something about that.
The General Election is 210 days away. There are plenty of candidates who need your help. Put your time and talent to use for a candidate. Help make phone calls. Help knock doors. Help plan and organize events. Heck, even talking to your neighbors about candidates in your area can help get the job down. We have an opportunity to elect a Republican Governor and increase our numbers in the General Assembly this year. It is the only way that we are going to be able to send a message to the folks down in Annapolis that driving our state off a cliff year in and year out is not going to be acceptable any longer.
If we want to make sure that future General Asssembly sessions don’t become repeats of the 90 Days of Hell, it’s time we get to work.