Lollar Mud-Slinging tarnishes otherwise good Tax Plan

Over a month after proposing to eliminate the income tax, the Charles Lollar campaign finally unveiled details of Lollar’s plan to eliminate the income tax in Maryland. All in all, the Lollar Tax Plan is a pretty good one, and if it can be passed through the General Assembly, would be a tremendous boon to taxpayers.

The problem with Lollar’s plan is not in its theory or concept, but its execution on the campaign trail. Lolllar announced his intention to eliminate the income tax in late January but did not provide any additonal detail as to how he would eliminate the income tax. Between the time that Lollar announced his basic concept and the release of his plan today, Harford County Executive David Craig released his own plan to eliminate the income tax.

Buried in Lollar’s release is this little gem:

Critics initially dismissed the Lollar plan as unrealistic. And yet, one month after Lollar unveiled his zero income tax plan, another GOP candidate appropriated elements of the Lollar plan and passed them off as his own.

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In other words, the Lollar campaign has accused David Craig of ripping off Lollar’s proposal as his own, even though none of the details included in Craig’s release. Given that Lollar himself said during remarks broadcast on last Friday’s episode of The Red Maryland News Hour that he and his team were going to run a positive and clean campaign.

Lollar’s accusation is curious for a variety of reasons. As we mentioned, Lollar first broached the idea of eliminating the income tax, but provided no concrete proposals about how to implement such a cut or how such a cut would be paid for. The Craig campaign beat Lollar to the punch by announcing their own detailed income tax elimination plan with measures for cost savings. Yet, Lollar’s plan is far more aggressive then Craig’s when it comes to the phase out of the income tax plan, with the Lollar plan set for phasing out by fiscal year 2019 and the Craig plan only putting Maryland on a “glide path” towards gradual elimination, setting only a date of 2016 only for the first phase of the tax reduction.

So to recap:

  • Craig Plan
    • Tax Cut: Initial cut to 4.25% in 2016; second cut to 3% at a point in the future; elimination of the income tax at an undetermined point in the future
    • How to Pay for It: zero-based budgeting, reviewing department and agency operations, eliminating coordinating offices, increases in a tax revenues through lower taxes.
  • Lollar Plan
    • Tax Cut: Cut to 3% for earners under $100,000, 4% for earners over $100,000 in FY2015. Gradual 1% yearly reduction for both levels until the tax is eliminated for earners under $100.000 in FY2018 and for earners over $100,000 in FY2019
    • How to Pay for It: Reorganization of the Executive Branch, Review of all independent agencies; eliminating of waste and duplication; review of all Departments and Agencies with an eye toward eliminating no longer necessary agencies.
So other than the overall concept of eliminating the income tax, there are few similarities between the plans. Which makes the Lollar campaign decision to attack Craig for “appropriating elemnts of the Lollar plan” even more unncessary and bizarre.
The Lollar Tax Plan is a good document on its own, but it only comes with or after a slew of strategic missteps, such as letting the Craig campaign get their details out first, a bizarre statement leaving the door open for tax hikes, and now attacking the Craig campaign for sharing an idea that lots of other conservatives have had.

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