So far, the only thing Marylanders know about the current special session of the General Assembly is that it has begun and that a large segment of the population is about to get hosed.
In indigenous political speak: just business as usual.
As we learned in 2007, the only thing more frightening than a regular assembly session is a special assembly session and this year’s lesson is déjà vu all over again.
At a lawmaker gathering billed as a throw-down to address redistricting, Maryland’s 188 Ineffectuals barely had time to climb into the pockets of their favorite lobbyists before the dreaded ‘t-word’ was uttered.
No, not teachers’ union; taxes.
At a Monday morning news conference that acted as the starter’s pistol to this latest gerrymander-for-votes- venture, Gov. Martin O’Malley asked the General Assembly to not only gaze upon a district map that looks like it was drawn by Dennis Hopper on peyote, but also to begin the only process at which they excel: taking more of our money.
O’Malley, who never met a legal citizen whose cash wasn’t there for the taking, suggested a gas tax as high as 15-cents per gallon (to be phased in over three years) that would be used to fund road construction, public transit and various other transportation projects… you know, to mirror all the success that our state achieved via the federal American Recovery Act stimulus.
And here we were told that the recent increase in tolls would handle infrastructure repair and reconstruction.
The Governor of Mt. Taxmore also hinted at squeezing more blood from us turnips when he spoke of expanding the state’s capital budget.
Now, I know most of you are aware that Maryland had to make a half-arsed attempt at decreasing capital spending this year, leaving the masses to ponder from where, exactly, that additional cash will originate.
The governor – as quickly as he could poke fun at Chris Christie – mentioned that our nation (and state) suffers from what he calls an “investment deficit,” and the only cure for such a financial disease is revenue – revenue that will be raised in every fashion imaginable when this legislative flock returns to the scene of years worth of fiscal crimes in January.
What you won’t hear from the Assembly critters who sport a “D” after their name is the tasty little tid-bit that reveals Maryland’s misuse (and robbery) of the transportation fund since 1984, the year they began using the fund to help plug budget deficits.
“Maryland has gotten itself … into such a transportation funding crisis situation that it’s going to take just huge dollars to prevent further deterioration of the system,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson (and one of those soon-to-be-mentioned Blue Ribbon-ers) told the Washington Examiner. “The gas tax is still the real work horse of transportation revenue.”
(Note to self: send a letter to AAA and suggest they shove their membership in the same dark corner where the AARP membership went after that org supported Obamacare)
Yo Lon: why don’t you ask Governor Honesty Deficit where the $700 million went that he sucked from the transportation budget for the two previous fiscal years?
As if the term “investment deficit” wasn’t weasel-like enough to offend your intelligence, Governor Taxmoreland pulled “understanding and compassion deficit” from his big bag of bull as to imply that those of us unwilling to hand over more of our hard-earned lettuce were somehow callous in devising a plan to eliminate the poor and the elderly through a series of bureaucratic spending cuts.
Speaking of barnyard excrement, could there have been a better story released to coincide with the opening of the Special Session than the news that Maryland will begin buying electricity created from animal waste?
And, if you are the proud owner of a deuce dropping menagerie that can pump out 10 megawatts of poo power (and you’re connected to the grid) the state is encouraging you to bid on the process.
No, collecting the Shih Tzu from all the dogs in your neighborhood does not meet program guidelines.
The shovel-ready biscuits served up by the commission created by Gov. O’Malley to propose changes to our Congressional districts, however, could power one of the small Western Maryland towns that will now have their officials elected by Montgomery County liberals.
Which brings us back to that every-ten-year folly that allows the Maryland Democratic Party to – since they’ve done such a great job since the ‘60s – solidify their D.C. power positions.
If you don’t think you’re getting your legislative money’s worth now wait until the vote-smart people of Maryland send another Hoyer, Edwards or Van Hollen to Congress.
Might as well beat the Christmas rush and change the state’s name to Maryfornia right now.
For all the bluster about minority mistreatment, civil rights violations and other aspects of the LSD-induced redistricting map, mouthy Maryland Democrats will sit down, shut up and do as they’re told.
Submission, you see, is not only expected, it’s a requirement.
Yesterday, while attending a rally for Good Government in Annapolis (there’s a few terms you never hear uttered in the same sentence), word came that the Maryland Senate had rammed through – along party lines, naturally – the redistricting map that was recommended by the governor’s “Blue Ribbon” Commission.
From whom did these guys get their blue ribbon… Ulysses Currie?
There was one dissenting democrat – Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D – Prince George’s) – who charged creators of the current redistricting plan with manipulating minorities and had the unmitigated gall to say that the citizens of Maryland deserve fair and equal representation.
And he even said it out loud.
Careful, C. Anthony (I dig those dudes with initials for a first name), keep up the petulant behavior and President Mike Miller may not allow you to eat lunch at the adult table come January.
Unless, of course, this whole anti-map tantrum was orchestrated to provide you with campaign fodder if you do indeed decide to challenge Ben Cardin for his senate seat.
But take heart, fellow citizens, our overseers tell us that action in the special session will only included redistricting, and nary a extra tax will be enacted.
The tax talk will continue when the regularly scheduled session begins – which means you have just over three months to pack all the purchases that landed you in credit card hell and head for cheaper pastures.
Today, after the House of Delegates holds its faux debate, Gov. O’Malley and his two hype men – Senate President Miller and House Speaker Busch – will get their way because the protesting parties who are raising the stink about the ‘unfair’ nature of the governor’s redistricting plan will slink back into the shadows and be thankful that legislative leadership cares enough about your political career that they take precious time from their busy itineraries to tell you how to think.
Because the only thing Maryland Democrats do equally as well as taking the peoples’ money is a conscience-lacking ability to put party affiliation above the people – including the minority voters that help fuel this drunken binge of out-of-control power.
And that’s what smells most of all.