News From Annapolis
                               
With my inbox receiving over 4000 requests to Oppose the $2.6 Billion/year Expansion of Sales Taxes Hike, proposed by the Democrats, to partially pay for the Kirwan Commission's education recommendations, it prompted me to begin my newsletter by simply saying.... 

I Stand Behind the Governor and WILL NOT SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN ANY TAXES
Governor Larry Hogan

                                        
 
Maryland is already one of the highest-taxed states in the United States and one of the worst places to retire. The massive tax increases of the O'Malley-Brown era devastated our state's economy. We have made so much progress since that time, we cannot afford to go back to the days of tax and spend, and then tax again. There is currently plenty of revenue in the state budget to pay for the priorities that we claim are important to our constituents, and we also owe it to Maryland taxpayers to ensure accountability- that the money we are currently spending is getting the results we should expect.

HB1628Sales and Use Tax - Rate Reduction and Services - (the title itself is misleading- it should read Rate Reduction & Massive Expansion of Sales Tax on Services ) recently proposed by legislative leaders and committee chairs, will increase Maryland's sales tax by more than 50% by expanding it to services. While the actual sales tax Rate is proposed to be reduced from 6% to 5%, the 5% tax will now be imposed on hundreds of services including, Trash Removal, Haircuts, Car Repairs, Computer Services, Real Estate, Tax Preparers, Transportation Services (Uber, taxis, charter buses), Grocery Delivery, Shoe Repairs, Nail Salons, Advertising, Storage, Plumbers, Painters, Electricians, Pet Grooming and Veterinary Services, Towing, Translation Services, Car Washes, Carpet/Upholstery Cleaning, Gutter Cleaning and Power-Washing, Snow Removal.... and the list goes on.....all will be taxed at 5%.

If passed, this $2.6 billion tax hike would be the largest tax increase in the history of our state. It is not simply a "tax on the wealthy" as its advocates would have you believe. This tax will touch every part of our citizens' lives. 

This is a tax our citizens have already said they are unwilling to pay. A recent Gonzales poll found that 94% of Maryland voters believe they already pay enough or too much in taxes, and over half of those voters said they were not willing to pay higher taxes to fund education. 

I will do everything in my power to defeat this historic tax increase.

Kirwan Commission Education Recommendations

The proposed tax increases are a response to the 172 page bill regarding recommendations of The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education - now called, Blueprint for Maryland's Future- Implementation  HB1300 , carries an estimated $4 billion per year price tag for up to 10 years.  Some of these increases in spending will be mandated on the 23 counties and Baltimore City, which then may have to raise taxes at the local level.

An easier read of the reform recommendations would be the fiscal note, which is only 62 pages long and contains the breakdown of costs and distributions to local jurisdictions.
 
This all brings back memories - in 2002 , HB1329 the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 , referred as The Thornton Commission, was established to ensure that schools and the school systems had the resources necessary to provide every child with an adequate and equitable education.  With the increase in taxes then- 43 tax increases under Governor O'Malley , Did it Work the First Time?   No, according to the Kirwan Commission Report, we have seen insignificant changes in student achievement and rank nationally as "mediocre at best" when it comes to Maryland students achievement levels.

As detailed as the bill is, there are changes that are sorely needed but not addressed:
  • Updating curriculum with the real "Back to Basics" schooling (ensuring that our students can read and write proficiently)
  • Addressing classroom Discipline - the biggest problem mostly all teachers will tell you they face.
  • Ensuring that students come to school ready to learn- our teachers cannot do it all (we have some of the highest student absenteeism in the nation)
  • Empowering parents as the most important teachers in their child's lives
  • Allowing students alternatives to failing schools
To compliment the Governor's Education Reform proposals, the Republican Caucus has focused on teacher's safety and removing disruptive students from the classroom:
THESE PROPOSALS DO NOT REQUIRE ANY TAX INCREASES!!

Watch Governor Hogan's Press Conference on Tax Increase

If this were not enough...we just heard testimony on a bill that would demand a single-payer government run health care system funded by imposing 10% payroll tax on all Marylanders who work.  HB188 Public Health - State-Provided Health Care Benefits.

This legislation is similar to Bernie Sanders "Medicare For All" proposal, but instead would be more like "Medicaid for All". All private health insurance in Maryland would be eliminated.
 
This approach has already failed in multiple states including Vermont and California and we have no reason to believe that it would work in Maryland.
 
As we have passed the halfway mark of the 2020 90-day Legislative Session, the Kirwan and tax increase proposals were all introduced very late and are on the fast track. Committees hearings on the legislation were orchestrated as a rally "for the children" with little opportunity to digest and understand actually what the legislation would do- it all sounds nice in theory but little on the actual plan for implementing these changes.
 
There are hundreds of issues we are debating as we review over 2000 pieces of legislation. Our days are long and our week-ends short. Please know that I appreciate all of your feedback, but may not be able to get back to you as soon as I would like.

Apply Now for the Delegate Scholarship!
If you are a resident of District 5 and are a High School Senior, you are eligible to apply for the Delegate Susan Krebs' Scholarship.  All high school seniors planning to attend a Maryland college or university are encouraged to apply.

Deadline is March 27, 2020

Click  here for more information/application.
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Carroll County | Maryland House of Delegates  
Phone: 410-841-3200 | Fax: 410-841-3349  
6 Bladen Street, Room 203 Lowe House Office Building | Annapolis, MD  21401 
susan.krebs@house.state.md.us | Stephanie Duncan Troxell,  Legislative Aide
NOT AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE
By Authority:  Friends of Susan Krebs, Kimberly Madeja, Trea surer