O’Malley Stacks the Deck for Tax Increases in 2011

As my esteemed colleague pointed out yesterday, Martin O’Malley’s tax commission is set to recommend a slew of new taxes after the November election. Now some of our critics and supporters of Governor O’Malley would take issue with Brian’s assessment that the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission barely met. They actually convened 11 meetings over the last three years. Quibbling over the number of meetings however, muddies the fact that the commission was stacked with tax raisers and soaked-to-the-bone Keynesians.

Take a look at the membership of the commission.

Of the six legislators appointed to the body, senators Verna Jones, Nancy King, Rich Madaleno, and delegates Kumar Barve and Sheila Hixson (all Democrats) gladly voted for O’Malley’s 2007 special session tax increases, the largest in Maryland history. The other legislator is Republican delegate, Paige Elmore, who is now deceased.

There are two public members of the commission Michael Ettlinger and Martin Lobel.

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Michael Ettlinger is Vice President for Economic Policy at the… wait for it…Center for American Progress, John Podesta’s progressive think tank funded largely by George Soros. Ettlinger is not a proponent of spending cuts to balance budgets and favors repealing the Bush tax cuts.

Martin Lobel is a partner in a Washington DC public interest law firm, who advocates Keynesian stimulus and higher taxes on the rich.

However, it’s not just the ideological bent of the commissioners that is important here, but that of the experts they brought in to testify.

For example:

Michael Mazerov of the left leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Mazerov, a former policy analyst for AFSMCE, favors combined reporting and opposes cutting state corporate income taxes. CBPP receives funding from the ultra left wing foundations like the Democracy Alliance, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Jeff McLynch, who at the time of his testimony was State Policy Director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. ITEP’s Board of Directors includes former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, Robert Kuttner editor of The American Prospect the flagship magazine of the Center for American Progress, and SEIU official Dean Tipps. ITEP gets it’s funding from the usual suspects: Soros, Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation among others.

Washington College economics professor Robert Lynch. Lynch is also a research economist for the Economic Policy Institute. Lynch favors higher taxes and increased government spending as a means to spur economic growth. EPI’s board of directors reads like a who’s who of labor union leaders. Andrew Stern and Ana Burger of SEIU, Ron Gettelfinger president of the UAW, Richard Trumka head of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME chief Gerald McEntee etc…

So here we have Chef O’Malley’s recipe for solving his second structural deficit: sprinkle some tax and spend Democrat lawmakers—with a dash of progressive policy wonks—on top of failed Keynesian theory and voila you’ve got a gourmet meal of tax increases for the 2011 legislative session.

Of course, this isn’t the first stacked deck commission O’Malley set up to return pre-ordained conclusions. O’Malley contracted out with the Center for Climate Strategies, a global warming alarmist group, to manage the proceedings of The Maryland Commission on Climate Change. CCS, along with state environmental special interests paid for and wrote the report that provides O’Malley with a menu of climate change taxes and regulations.

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