Misusing the Office

We have gone over before the duties and responsibilities of the Office of the Comptroller and Peter Franchot’s inability to understand them. And I’m pretty sure that this isn’t in there:

State Comptroller Peter Franchot has agreed to cull state income tax records to identify Howard County families who might qualify for health care assistance and then send them letters offering help, county officials said yesterday.

“Who knows better than the state comptroller who is making less than 300 percent of [the federal] poverty [level]?” asked Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, the county health officer, referring to the income cutoff to qualify for federally funded health care programs for children.

The letter campaign was to be announced today at Franchot’s Baltimore office on West Preston Street as the latest component of what Howard County officials say will be a comprehensive plan to offer health care access to all uninsured residents. Details of the plan are to be revealed Tuesday.

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So the state is going to spend taxpayer dollars to help Howard County spend more taxpayer dollars on covering the uninsured? Where exactly is that in the Comptroller’s job description?

Franchot’s job is to collect the taxes, and realistically not much else. His job is to not turn the resources of the Comptroller’s office over to help Howard County expand the number of citizens on government assistance, no matter how well meaning he is about it. If the people of Howard County want to offer comprehensive health care to its uninsured, and so long as they are using the taxpayer dollars of Howard County residents, I don’t really have a dog in the fight. But I do have an issue when the Office of the Comptroller, funded by my taxes, is being misused in this manner.

I will note, however, that the same people who praise Peter Franchot for his “courage” would be first in line to charge the Bush Administration with high treason if they proposed using IRS records to track terrorists…


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