March 3, 2024
Annapolis, US 58 F

OPINION: It’s Time for a Real Tax Cut

It’s time for a real tax cut. People are struggling with gas prices that have doubled in two months. Inflation, which reduces the purchasing power of your paycheck, is at 8.3%, the highest it has been in decades. Maryland’s cost of living is the seventh highest in America. On top of all of these economic burdens on our families and businesses, Maryland has the third-highest income tax per person in the United States, and within Maryland, Anne Arundel County has the fifth-highest income tax per person. (We moved from 8th to 5th after Pittman’s income tax increase in 2019.) Now more than ever, people need to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks in their pockets.

That’s why I have pledged to roll back Steuart Pittman’s property and rain tax hikes and to “ Cut n’ Cap” income taxes as your County Executive. The McMillan Cut’n Cap plan would cut county income taxes by 12%, and include a charter amendment that would ban raising them in the future without a vote of the people.

Since our Cut n’ Cap announcement, other Republican candidates for County Executive, and even current County Executive, Steuart Pittman, have tried to paint themselves as fiscally conservative “tax cutters.” You can expect to hear a lot of promises in an election year. But I don’t just talk the talk; I’ve walked the walk. There is a difference between a candidate who has cut property taxes as a councilman, reduced other taxes and fees, and voted against tax and fee increases over 100 times and candidates who have never substantially and successfully cut taxes and are proposing election-year tax-cut gimmicks, or have actually raised taxes themselves.

Jessica Haire’s failed Amusement Tax proposal falls squarely into the gimmick category. Does anyone really believe a temporary suspension of a tax on movie tickets for one month a year (August) is real tax relief? How does that help families afford gas, groceries, and other necessities? Is this what Haire means when she says she’ll cut your taxes? Or is it just election year window dressing?

John Grasso’s commitment to “cut” taxes is even less believable. As a state delegate, I co-sponsored and passed legislation to end Maryland’s requirement for a county rain tax. Unfortunately, former Councilman Grasso voted for a county rain tax anyway, which has cost Anne Arundel County taxpayers millions of dollars.

And, of course, we can’t leave out Steuart Pittman. In 2019, Pittman hit us with the highest income tax increase ever, increased our property taxes, raised Grasso’s rain tax, and increased trash fees as well. What happened to being “frugal” and governing “within the tax cap,” as promised when he was running for office in the first place?

Under Pittman, county spending has grown by 36% in four years. Has your paycheck grown 36%? We need to fund law enforcement, schools, and other core services, but there are many things we could and should cut. We don’t need to give county workers $10 million in shot bonuses, spend $2 million on another paid county holiday, or spend money on ridiculous programs like crackpipe distribution, among other things. *

You deserve better. It’s time for the government to live within its means, just like we do. The McMillan Cut’n Cap will reduce the size of a government that’s grown too big, too controlling, and too out of touch with the people it is supposed to serve. During these difficult economic times, let’s cut wasteful spending and increase the size of your paycheck with a real tax cut. Because it’s your money!

Herb McMillan served one term on the Annapolis City Council and three terms in the House of Delegates. He is a Republican candidate for County Executive.

*Budget data are taken from the county budget.

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