Rethinking Warren Miller

Here’s what we said about Delegate Warren Miller when we endorsed him in 2014:

Whether it is protecting small business from the ravages of burdensome regulation or dragging state government into the light of transparency Warren Miller is the kind of man we need in Annapolis …You always know where Warren Miller stands: a steward and advocate for the proper use of taxpayer money and a sentinel for transparency and good government.

Miller’s actions over the last two years, however, has caused us to reassess our position.

In what can only be described as dutiful water carrying for the Democratic machine in Annapolis, Miller has acted in a manner in total contradiction to his professed views about protecting small business and advocating for good government.

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This year, Miller was the House sponsor of the bill to strip Comptroller’s office of its authority over alcohol enforcement.  In his veto, Governor Hogan rightly called this bill “personality-driven” “petty politics” at its worst, and a “solution in search of a problem that does not exist.”

Miller’s bill moves the Field Enforcement Division out of the Comptroller’s Office into a newly created bureaucracy at the potential cost of up to $50 million.   We’re pretty sure the voters of District 9A did not send him to Annapolis to be an agent of Mike Busch’s political retribution against Peter Franchot.

So we have to ask the question: does a professed steward of the taxpayer dollars deliberately set tens of millions of public dollars on fire in the pursuit of a political grudge?  Because it sure looks like Miller was first in line to fill up a jerrycan.

Of course, this all stemmed from Franchot’s support for Maryland’s craft breweries against the middlemen distributors, who control the legislative alcohol committees, upon which Miller sits.

Last year, Miller enlisted in Speaker Busch’s war on small, family-owned breweries and voted to oppose free-market reforms to the alcohol industry. This year, he minced no words in showing his contempt for the brewers who schlepped to Annapolis to protect their businesses when he all but paraphrased Barack Obama telling them they didn’t build that.

“It is the work of this committee and the committee across the street that has allowed you guys to prosper… we created the industry in Maryland… it’s our work that created your industry so you just remember that as you testify.”

Attacking small businesses and expanding government bureaucracy is not what we signed up for when we endorsed Warren Miller, nor do we think it’s what Republican voters signed up for by supporting him.  With Miller’s record, one wonders if the people of southern Carroll County and western Howard County should have just sent a Democrat to Annapolis.

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