Time to Get Real About Kirwan

Did you see the unemployment numbers today in Maryland? They aren’t very good:

Unemployment claims in Maryland and across the country last week doubled over the record-setting surge of job losses the week before, as businesses continue to shut their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the state Department of Labor, 84,230 Marylanders filed for unemployment either over the phone, online or by mail during the week ending March 28, up from 42,334 residents the week before. They were among more than 6.6 million Americans who filed jobless claims last week.

That means that the coronavirus pandemic and the related closures have basically wiped on any job gains made by Governor Larry Hogan during his administration.

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Now, the likelihood of job losses was something that just about everybody saw coming as the pandemic started to spread across the country. We knew that it would hit hard as soon as Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency and non-essential businesses started to close. Either through business closures or catastrophic death totals, the economy was heading south and job losses were going to mount because of this pandemic.

That brings us to the Kirwan Commission recommendations.

Despite the State of Emergency, Democratic legislative leaders chose to stay in session, pass the Kirwan Commission recommendations (with the help of six Republican State Senators), and pass tax hikes on working people. And the majority of legislators went along with it knowing damn well that job losses would mount and that working people would not be able to pay for these new tax hikes.

At the time, the decision of Democratic leadership looked short-sighted and reckless. Now that what everybody knew would happen has happened, it looks even more foolhardy. Democrats (and those six Republicans) have committed Maryland to billions in new spending and committed to tax hikes. Tax hikes that will never reach the revenue levels Democrats claim that they would thanks to the current economic climate.

Raising taxes in March, despite knowing the economic plight that was coming, shows that Maryland Democrats are indifferent to the economic suffering of Maryland’s middle and working-class families.

Passing Kirwan in March, despite knowing the economic plight that was coming, shows that Maryland Democrats (and those six Republicans) were completely indifferent to the strain that such a bloated, expensive, and unnecessary expansion of state government would have in a tough economic climate.

We can still fix this. Governor Hogan must veto the Kirwan Commission plan as well as all tax hikes passed by reckless Maryland Democrats. These bills, passed during a State of Emergency and without public input, are representative of the backward, anti-taxpayer, anti-worker agenda Maryland Democrats have been pushing for years. And if and when Governor Hogan vetoes this bills, legislators of character who may have voted for these taxes and may have voted for the Kirwan Commission during the most recent session must do right by taxpayers, right by workers, and right by everybody who has lost their job by sustaining the Governor’s veto.

The stakes are too high, for our state, for workers, and for their families, to allow the injustice of the Kirwan Recommendations and the injust of unnecessary and destructive tax hikes to become law right now. Governor Hogan must veto these bills, and the General Assembly must vote to sustain our vetoes. Our children, our families, and our future are depending on it.

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