No, Maryland Democrats Don’t Care About Working Folks
One of the usual memes Maryland Democrats like to throw out is that they are the party of working Marylanders. Of course, one look at the basic facts of how Democrats operate in Annapolis will tell you that in reality, working men and women are the last things on their minds:
The Rain Tax: Marylanders overwhelmingly sent a message to the General Assembly at he Ballot Box last fall, and that message was that we are taxed enough already. One of the taxes that sent Marylanders over the edge was of course the rain tax. Repeal of the rain tax has been at the center of Governor Hogan’s 2015 legislative agenda. But that, of course didn’t stop 14 Democrats from voting against a rain tax repeal.
The Rain Tax, of course, hits working Marylanders in the checkbook more than once. Once on the property that they own, but also in higher costs for commercial goods and services for businesses that also have to shell out their portion of the rain tax.
Bag Bans and Taxes: No content with just taxing the rain, Democrats have now moved on to try to eliminate plastic bags and institute a ten-cent per bag tax on paper grocery bags. This isn’t a joke. This is happening. Democratic Delegate Brooke Lierman is spearheading the effort because she says “it’s a win-win to me.”
I’m guessing, however, that Brooke Lierman hasn’t tried to carry more than one bag of groceries at a time. I’m guessing that she hasn’t tried to carry her groceries home while riding public transportation. I’m guessing that she hasn’t thought about the fact that a ten-cent per bag tax is going to disproportionately hurt customers and taxpayers in her Baltimore City district. After all, Brooke Lierman comes from privilege and political connections. She isn’t concerned about her taxpayers, only with burnishing her left-wing credentials by keeping the environmental lobby happy.
Bond Bills: Delegate Aruna Miller’s tweet of yesterday was really what best encapsulated the Democratic opinion of bond bills.
On Bond Bill Saturday, MD residents have requests for 123 projects totaling $28 million. Gov Hogan has $0 in his budget for bond requests.
— Aruna Miller (@arunamiller) March 14, 2015
Miller’s tweet and its impact is the topic of tonight’s episode of The Air Raid. It’s no coincidence, however, that Bond Bills make up our Waste of the Week feature, and that we here at Red Maryland have spent years criticizing Democrats and Republicans alike for supporting these wealth transfers from taxpayers to private businesses. You can read our analysis of last year’s $16 million in bond projects here. Let us not forget that during the O’Malley Years, the General Assembly approved a total of $146 million in new bond projects. Of course, these Bond Bills increase state debt, require the issuance of State general obligation bonds, and include taxpayer dollars not just to pay back the bonds, but also for debt service. All of that money comes at the expense of middle and working class Marylanders to be transferred to politically connected private individuals.
Pension Fund: Again, we’ve been talking about the ticking time bomb that is Maryland’s Pension Liability for years. We knew in 2013 that there were $73 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. We knew that the money was going to run out in 2024. And we knew that the pension fund was underperforming expectations, costing the State even more money. Moody’s, one of the influential Wall Street Bond Rating houses, noted concerns in the latest bond report that Maryland has “large unfunded pension liabilities relative to the size of its economy.” But that didn’t stop Democrats in the General Assembly from working to raid pension funding in order to reallocate money to fund Democrat political priorities at the expense of State Workers. The pensions of state workers are literally so unimportant to Democratic leaders that they are willing to play political games with pension funds in order to try to stick it to Governor Hogan.
Even the Washington Post, hardly the most conservative of news outlets, had this to say about the scheme:
That boils down to a short-term payoff to core Democratic constituencies, especially teachers unions, that will burden taxpayers down the road. And if the pension fund’s investments underperform officials’ rosy projections, the result will be fiscal calamity — and big trouble for the employees the legislature is purporting to help.
Indeed it is. Not only will it mess with the pensions of state employees, it’s created an additional $2.5 billion in unfunded spending merely by kicking that can down the road.
There are many more examples than this that we could point to that show the contempt Maryland Democrats have for middle and working class Marylanders. These are just some of the most poignant and relevant examples for the past two weeks. This doesn’t even get into the gas tax, transportation trust fund raids, toll increases, or so many other issues. Maryland’s Democrats have always tried to talk the talk that they are the party that are standing up for the little guy and standing up for working class Marylanders. But the only time Maryland Democrats are ever standing up for the working guy is to try to pick their pockets and to see how much more cash they can take off of them. For a long time, Maryland’s Democrats have been unconcerned with the plight of working folks and instead have been focused on two things: how much money can they fleece from taxpayers, and how much can we hand out to our special interest friends.
To Maryland Democrats, the value of working people is only in seeing how they can use working people to stay in power. Based on Governor Hogan’s win at the ballot box in November and the overwhelming majority of people who oppose their agenda, I don’t think the working men and women of our state are going to let the Democrats get away with it for much longer.