Part 1 Economic Outlook for Maryland very very bleak – Hard Hitting Facts from Washington County Delegation
MAY 27, 2010
by Washington County Citizens United
Last evening, we had our Delegation from Washington County, minus one due to another commitment and what I came away with is, the following. Let’s just say, Maryland Citizens, Washington Countians, start saving whatever pieces of the pie you have left on your table, because come 2012, you will be left with crumbs if you don’t. Last night’s panel discussion with our Delegation, was, well at times spirited, but yet very insightful into the workings and musings of our Maryland General Assembly. I came away with a feeling, that there is absolutely no Bi Partisan support on anything. It is either the Majority’s Way, or the Highway. I am going to try and give the best synopsis as I can, it will not be attacking. Ryan Miner seems to think that’s all I do and people don’t like that, but my blog say’s otherwise, with hundreds of hits on a weekly basis. You may not like the messenger, but the messenger brings you the opinion of a voter and citizen, and it carry’s with it, the rights under the Constitution of the United States, or shall I say, what’s left of it. I was astonished and very proud of the knowledge and insight our Delegation bring us, and the facts, hard-hitting as they may well be, it’s the truth, the hard fact plain truth. I am going to try to highlight all the information provided to us last night as best that I can, there was so much to absorb and I hope I can hit all the points brought up. But first, let me put a disclaimer out there. Some people seem to think I hate, dislike, Senator Donald Munson, well, that can’t be further from the truth. The truth is, I like Don, I like is daughter Xanthy, though we disagree, out of respect to her, I refuse to discuss politics with her regarding her Dad. The truth is, his voting record is deplorable over the last few years, that is what I do not like. Love me or hate me for my stances, it’s my opinion and I express. Whether I send to many emails or not, whether they are construed as angry emails or not, that is not the intention, the intention is to wake up our body of leaders who are failing their constituents. In fact, I praise Senator Munson for all his years of hard work, it just happens to be an election year and things need to change, and if that means voting out a more liberal Republican to do so, then so be it. It is not my intention to hurt Don’s feelings or his family. My attention is to draw him to the facts of his voting record, one that has become way to liberal for me. With that said, I wish the Senator well in his campaign bid to retain his seat for State Senate. I am just a devoted Chris Shank supporter, a man with a goal and a purpose and one who holds a bright outlook for our future if he get’s elected to serve our County in District 2. So, with this out-of-the-way, let’s get down to it.
Let’s start with Senator George Edwards, for a man with a Country Boy draw, with a belly full of fire, as he said, I am related to Valentino De Valentino, a dig at himself. He looks over Garrett, Allegany, and far western reached of Washington County. He discussed the problems with the state’s budget, but something he knows allot about, Natural Resources, in particular, Natural Gas and Coal. Coming from this part of the state, he knows this very well. Now, I may mix this part up a bit, as my notes are a little messy, but basically, he was talking about mandated energy costs by the energy providers, I believe he said, we are mandated at about .8 percent per 1000 kilowatt-hours, in other words, we are being taxed on our kilowatt-hours used. He stated, and I may be wrong here, but Maryland just mandated close to 2 percent per 1000 kilowatt-hours in taxes. What does this mean, well, if you were paying 80 cents per 1000 kw, you will now be paying close to 2 dollars per 1000 kw hour. Let’s break this down a little. The average household uses approximately close to 2000 kw hours per month, on average, what does this mean to you? It means you will be paying an additional 4 plus dollars a month on your bill, or an increase close to 50 dollars per year. May not sound like a lot, but it will increase over time according to the Senator. Again, as I have stated as did the Senator, mandates can be lifted and amended. So, your energy company will be raking in more of your dollars under the new bills in place passed by the Majority in our State House. He also talked about the Bond Issue, he also believes in a time when finances are critical that we should not be asking for money, which under the Maryland terms, you have 15 years to repay. However, given that, both the House and Senate were set aside 12 to 14 million in bond monies to divide up among projects. He said, if they are going to put it out there, I owe it to my voters to get whatever I can. But he also agrees that this is no way, shape or form a means to do business, it’s the tax payer’s money. He also brought up, I believe it was him, that, the Senate GOP Caucus had drawn up legislation that would take all bond monies off the table for next year, the bill was defeated, again by the Majority with none or very little bipartisan support.
House Minority Whip, Delegate Chris Shank, he covered many things as well, also stated, this was the first year he has voted against the budget, he did not bring this up, but in private conversation, one of the reasons was because there was Money tied into the budget for Casa De Maryland. And we all know about Casa and their evil ways by now. But he also did not vote for the budget, mainly because he had drafted legislation, along with the House GOP Caucus that would have created a glide path bill. Let me explain that a little, and if you have questions, contact Delegate Shank. Basically, what this bill would have done, is ease the transition of the states fiscal deficit over the next 4 years, lessening the blow to the Maryland Tax Payer, it would have reduced the budget by 2 to 300 million each year over the next few. He brought the bill to the floor, it was defeated, the Majority was all up in arms about having their pet projects cut from the budget, again, they were only looking out for their best interest. Delegates Shank, Serafini and Jenkins put some of the toughest bills in this year’s assembly to the floor, with all but one or two passing. And let’s be clear here in case any one else states other wise, there was no campaigning taking place, this was about the future of our County and State. Next point, when Delegate Shank was asked about Bond’s, he came out hard and firm, “I can not and will not support Bond Monies off tax dollars during a time when Maryland is in such a financial demise, if and when the economy rebounds, then there is time to request money for certain projects, but now is not the time for anyone to be requesting tax dollars for projects’. Delegate Shank went into more details regarding his amendment to the Budget, but I just can’t get it all down at this moment. If and when more comes to mind, I will write it. Oh, let me also state for the record, 4 of the 5 there, I know for sure is staunchly behind my battle with Illegal Immigration, Senator Edwards told me after the meeting, I am with you on this, Delegate Jenkins, who I had the opportunity to speak with at length, stated, let me tell all of you, if I am back in the Statehouse next year, I too will be putting forth SB 1070, the Arizona Act in Maryland, Delegate Chris Shank stated the same. Delegate Serafini had not comment at the time, but I know where he stands as he has told me so. I can only assume that Senator Munson is behind it as well, though he has voted Tax Dollars over to Casa De Maryland, to which I like to call “The 1 million dollar vote”. I believe he has gotten so much pressure regarding Casa De Maryland that he will not make the same mistake again, but again, the mistake was made and can not be rectified, but only the future will tell for Senator Munson. Delegate Shank also spoke in support for me and my goal of getting E Verify and 287G on the books. E Verify is 96 percent accurate reporting on those illegally trying to obtain jobs, and I know some companies in Maryland are already using it. As he stated, it takes an employer about 5 minutes to verify someone, and if that someone is not allowed to possess the job legally, then that person will not get the job. Delegate Shank made mention of my hard work trying to get E Verify put on the books in Washington County.
Delegate Serafini aka Dr. Gloom and Doom by his fellow members. Reason, he is such a genius when it comes to money, it is almost scary. No wonder he looks like he is right out of an Armani Catalog. Always dressed to the 9′s and so kind and generous. He laid it out there, I like to call him silent, but deadly, referring to his mentality on the floor, he may seem low-key and laid back, but when he is passionate about something, he will not let it go. He will fight for you tooth and nail. As he put it, this is the most full time part-time job he has every had, being a legislator. Now, here comes some real scary stuff. Today, the Delegation met with Treasury Secretary Kopp (I may be wrong with name), they discussed Maryland’s financial future, AAA bond rating and all things taxes. Go figure, right? Treasury Secretary told the Delegation, in 2012, I would not want to be you, referring to Maryland’s grim and bleak outlook financially. We basically are going to be broke with no revenue streams and federal stimulus dollars gone. My point here, I firmly place the blame not only on the Majority, but on Governor O’Malley, who is absolutely a buffoon when it comes to economics. His way of dealing with the fiscal disaster was to blow through the 1 billion dollar surplus, called a special session and instituted the largest tax grab in Maryland history. When Comptroller Franchot came to O’Malley and asked him to hold off, he refused, he panicked and went into O’Malley mode, he lost control on how to Govern and turned Maryland into a fiscal nightmare. Figures in from the Treasury Secretary, Maryland has still grown the budget under O’Malley 22 percent. That my friends is not cutting, but it’s spending and a very irresponsible way to do business during a National Recession, which O’Malley continues to blame Maryland’s fiscal demise on. So what did O’Malley do, he went to the President and begged for money to bail him out, well guess what, the money is gone in 2012 and Maryland, which must submit a balanced budget from the Governor will have no money. What does this mean? Well, Maryland may very well fall below the 23 percent threshold on balancing the budget. There is the range in which Maryland can cut the budget, but can not cut below 23 percent. I may be off a point or two. So what does this mean to the Tax Paying Citizen in Maryland, it means, taxes are going to go up, new taxes are going to be created and there is no way around it. Let’s put this into more perspective, since 2000 under the Empire State Study, cited by Delegate Shank, Maryland has lost 83,000 residents, they have moved, not died, but moved. Since 2000 under the same study, Virginia has taken in almost 154,000 new residents. Why? Friendly to business’s, more jobs, lower taxes, better way of life. Governor McDonnell just made history, in Virginia, he just slashed the budget by 2 billion dollars without raising a dime in Taxes. Why is it so easy for Virginia to do? Why can’t Maryland do the same? I will tell you why, it’s called Pet Projects and Montgomery and PG Counties.
Let’s talk about distribution of School Dollars that took place in this assembly. More than 130,000,000 million was allocated to the county school systems, Montgomery and PG County got 120,000,000 million of that money, leaving the rest of counties to divide up 10,000,000 million dollars. Is there something wrong here? Montgomery County has just been in the process of having to make their own budget cuts, but the Majority and Governor O’Malley made sure that they got their share for sure.
Delegate Serafini also brought up something that has recently been in the news. Greece. Let’s talk about that, currently the Brits are in such a mess, worse than the US, that they have Germany bailing them out. Greece on the other hand went to the European Union to get its bailout and guess what, they don’t have the money either, so what did Greece do? They did not turn directly to the US and ask for help, they went to the IMF, International Monetary Fund. Who is the majority stake hold in funding the IMF? You got it, the good ol US of A. So, here we are, in total disarray, owing China billions of dollars, and Greece is borrowing what we have put in to the IMF, which, most likely is some of the money that we have borrowed from China. Delegate Serafini brought up a great quote “Margaret Thatcher once said, Socialism is great until other people’s money runs out”. He could not have said it better. Maryland, you are in for a shock if we do not get a Republican Governor, gain enough seats in the Senate to be able to Filibuster or to have Veto Override power in the House. If we can not gain enough seats, we are screwed. That piece of the pie you had left over from dinner? Well that will become the crumbs you eat for breakfast.
Senator Donald Munson, he sparked the biggest debate of the evening. But first, let’s discuss what he brought up, his bills, the one’s he got passed. Mind you know, while everyone else is talking about Maryland’s future, he is talking about his bills he got passed and said this has been probably his most successful session in memory, or maybe last year’s session. So let’s discuss his bills that he brought up, mainly two of them, first, that he was able to get the money allocated for devil’s backbone dam. Just over 500,000 from the budget. He stated, if this dam falls a part, we will have about 8 inches of sediment flowing right on down to the Chesapeake Bay. Okay, I get that. Then he moved on to his other bill that he got money for, Washington County Public Library, this sparked debate. Senator Munson was able to pull 10,000,000 dollars from the budget to put towards the renovation and expansion of the library. Okay, I understand the library needs fixing, but what I don’t understand is his reasoning. Delegate Serafini stated, that maybe he would not go for this, after all, about 19 percent of Washington County residents use the library. He made the perfect analogy, he said, I use something like an E Reader type device, where I can download all my books right from the internet. He is correct, more and more people are turning to Technology for reading and online stores, such as Amazon and others. Senator Munson claims this will create jobs? I contend, enough Jobs to ask for 10,000,000 dollars out of the budget when we need to fund out schools, upgrade other needs? Such as the Williamsport Waste Management Center which is only operating on 1 out of 4 pumps? If that 4th pump goes, all that waste will filter down the Potomac River, there is no way to stop if. Senator Munson did help on a couple of things, 2nd amendment right, regarding intruders into our homes and business’s. Senator Edwards jokingly said, listen, if you shoot them on your property, better hurry up and drag them inside, making a remark regarding the previous law, which is now amended. So props Don for this. Thank you. He also did manage to get some money for the Maryland State Troopers barracks, some of the most run down in the state, some money for their vehicles which desperately need repairing, so I guess, in Senator’s Munson’s view, this was a success, money for the Arts and Museums. I guess the point I am making here, regarding Don is, where are the tough bills, the one’s that we really need you to work for us on? Senator Munson did not seem to be very enthused about the evening’s events. He has had some family health issues and that is understandable and we are grateful his daughter is back.
Delegate Charles Jenkins, Freshman, Selected by the Washington County Central Committee. I like to call him Elmer Fudd, not because he is stupid or anything like that, it’s just when he smiles, he has that Elmer Fudd about him. He lights the room up with his laugh and personality. I clearly can see why the WCCC selected him, basically because of his success’ as County Commissioner in Frederick County. He only oversees about 5 percent of Washington County, but is making a home to the people out here, mingling and charming. But let me tell you something about Delegate Jenkins that I bet a lot of you don’t know about. We know how well versed he is on Illegal Immigration, but the man knows Healthcare and cost. He knows Obamas healthcare plan very well. He put it to us this way, do you remember how they were talking about the 12 to 20 million undocumented residents in the US getting healthcare under Obamacare? Well, it’s not true, in fact, no matter which way you look at it, you are still going to pay for them, they are still going to use the hospitals because they can’t afford doctors. Etc. So here is how he put the Healthcare bill in prospective, there are some parts, not many, that are actually, and I quote “pretty good”, but on the other hand, most of it is abominable. For instance, Maryland is one of only 5 states that cover In vitro for Women. You may not know this, but you are paying into that service through your healthcare provider/employer received healthcare. That’s right, you are paying for women to get pregnant, my words. As it stands, and these procedures are very expensive, a woman who has failed in their attempt at in vitro, can come back every 2 years and try again. Now, lets talk about the cost factors. Delegate Jenkins brought up about the fines under Obamacare. Frederick County is facing a 12 million dollar deficit, under Obamacare, the fines would cost Frederick Countians an additional 75,000 in the whole. He said, how in the world can I got back to my county and tell them we have to tax you more, in order to make up this additional shortage? How? I think you get the picture, if Maryland is in a 2 billion dollar whole, you are talking about billions to make up for the cost of Obamacare, that means, on top of everything else, more taxes to cover healthcare are on the way. Delegate Jenkins also stands by my side in my battle against Illegal Immigration understanding the cost factors and I failed to mention, that Delegate Shank had put a bill forth, that stated, if you are arrested and you are here illegally, ICE has every right to deport you, or at least take the criminal illegal off our hands, but again, the Majority in Annapolis wanting nothing to do with this bill.
This is Part 1 of my 2 part story. Coming either later today or tomorrow, the questions posed to the delegation which sparked debate.
My expose is going to all my delegation. We had asked them for bullet points on their presentations, that way, if I have missed anything, or maybe not got it completely right, I will have their documents to make any changes. I hope you have enjoyed this writing, not a political attack, but the musings of a blogger from Washington County, who does not hate, but only hold accountable. I know it is very hard for us in the minority to get things done, and it frustrates us and sometimes we leap before finishing our thought process. If I have offended anyone, it was not intentional, but out of passion and frustration as to what is happening to the state I love more than anything and I would hate to have to move.
Blessings to all.