John the Destroyer

Tax-hiker John Leopold looks like he wants to be at it again, with the proposed hotel tax sparking well-deserved outcry:

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold’s proposal to raise the hotel tax to generate revenue for the financially strapped school system has drawn sharp opposition from state and local tourism officials, who say it would have a devastating trickle-down effect on the county’s economy.

The measure – which combined with Maryland’s 6 percent sales tax would give the county the state’s highest checkout fee and one of the steepest in the country – will drive visitors to competing destinations, officials predicted, saying they’ve seen it happen elsewhere in Maryland.

“People will be laid off, they will lose jobs, shops will close, and hotels will go bankrupt – the mid-size hotels that can’t survive this – if we have a decline in visitors coming here,” said Connie Del Signore, president and CEO of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau.

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Of course, Leopold tries to defend this, but there is a noted change in his rhetoric from previous years:

“Because of the well-established aversion to any increase in property and income taxes here, it requires me to secure revenue for our public school system through other means.”

Once again, Leopold is going to blame country residents opposition to higher taxes as a justification to raise the hotel tax. But as usual, Leopold fails to see the forest for the trees. Yes, people are opposed to higher income and property taxes. But they are also opposed to liberal County Executives trying to tax businesses out of existence too. The Convention Bureau is correct in that the tax will destroy the local tourism industry. And when you think about how many people cycle into and through Annapolis, and cycle through the hotels at BWI each year, such a tax would have a devastating effect on the economy.

What’s even more ridiculous about the proposed tax hike is the fact that Leopold is trying to have it both ways on school funding. He wants to be able to tell Superintendent Kevin Maxwell to pack sand on Maxwell’s egregious and outlandish budget proposals, but still wants to raise taxes in order to increase the education spending that he himself has proposed.

Leopold’s usual run towards hypocrisy and tax increases is becoming more and more ridiculous. Leopold wants to take money out of the pockets of Anne Arundel County’s businesses through higher taxes that will drive businesses and visitors out of our county. Unfortunately, it seems that the closer we get to 2010, the more it is starting to look like 1998….


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