Charles Jenkins Has It Both Ways
Recent events have proven that our instincts were correct.
In our endorsement of Mr. Hough we noted that Delegate Jenkins had a rather uncomfortable track record of never really finding a tax that he couldn’t vote for. In June he gave an interview with the internet SeniorTalkRadio (I’ll spare you the boredom, go to Part II minute 5:43 and 17:17 for the key takeaways) in which he clearly endorsed the Streamlined Sales Tax Project and would introduce the legislation to bring Maryland into the organization.
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Organized in March 2000, the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) objective is to simplify and modernize sales and use tax collection and administration in the United States. It arose in response to efforts by Congress to permanently prohibit states from collecting sales taxes on online commerce. Because such a ban would have serious financial consequences for states, the SSTP began as an effort to try to minimize the many differences between the sales tax policies and practices of states.
In prior decisions regarding mail-order sales, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1992 (in the case of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298) that mail-order retailers were not compelled to collect use tax and remit the tax to states, in part because of the complexities of doing so. With computers, however, the difficulties of doing so are much smaller today, so one remaining stumbling block lies in the variations among state sales taxes. Organizers of the SSTP hope that by ironing out differences among state taxation levels, they will remove a major roadblock to the collection of taxes on online sales and convince Congress and the courts to allow them to collect these taxes regularly.
Just what we need in Maryland. An additional tax burden. Not only is an interest group, Americans for Tax Reform, against the idea but our Deputy Minority Leader, Chris Shank, has rightfully described it as a system whereby “we would really lose control to unelected bureaucrats in states that are far from our borders, who would then control the tax policy for the State of Maryland.”
This is troubling on two levels. The last thing the country, or Maryland, needs during a recession that threatens to tip into depression is an additional tax. The last the thing the Maryland GOP needs is another member in the House of Delegates who doesn’t realize he’s not supposed to act like a Democrat.
Eventually, the word got out and the subject of Jenkins’ support for Streamline Sales Tax became the subject of a thread on the Frederick News Post website. Jenkins weighed in:
The truth is not in Michael Hough.
I am looking into (through legislative bill drafting) repealing something called the sales & use tax / streamline tax that penalizes Maryland businesses doing business with other Maryland companies. If anyone is interested I can provide a copy of the e-mail sent to bill drafting – I want more information on this in the event I am returned to Annapolis. To take my use of the word streamline sales tax and give it a different definition in order to fabricate a press release is so unbelieveably creepy it defies further edification.
I learned about this business tax while campaigning. So yes, I am campaigning as well, I just don’t generate news stories about every door I knock on or Tweet that I stood out in traffic and waved at a passing motorist.
Gee, Charles, condescend much?
In the radio interview Jenkins is clearly referring to the Streamline Sales Tax Project. There is no other program that does what Jenkins describes. And he says clearly and unambiguously that he’s in favor of it. Then, suddenly, when he’s called on the issue he takes the easy way out and basically calls Hough a liar. This denial, except for the relative smallness of the man involved, is nearly Clintonian in scope. We’ve heard him say it and now he denies saying it and the man who brought it to our attention is a liar.
Since the inception of this blog we’ve had a minimal but consistent standard in criticizing Republicans. All we ask is that they show some level of restraint in voting to increase the power of the state at the expense of free markets and free people. The people that don’t should be called “Democrats.”
This episode just goes to show that both RedMaryland and Governor O’Malley were right when they followed their gut instinct. We supported a conservative and Governor O’Malley got another Democrat vote in Annapolis.