[Baltimore Sun] Marylanders deserve better leadership and fewer tax hikes | READER COMMENTARY

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Some Maryland legislators aim to saddle us with $1.3 billion in new fees and taxes (“Maryland House OKs budget bill with tax, fee, increases,” March 21). No matter who you are or what you do, this bill invites the government into your pocketbook to take their cut.

Maryland already faces some of the heaviest taxes in America. Our K-12 cost per student is also one of the highest in the United States. Instead of demanding even more funding for ineffective programs, the Maryland General Assembly should focus on delivering for taxpayers and our children by fixing existing programs and eliminating waste — not spending billions of dollars we don’t have on new programs we don’t need.

Our legislature is more focused on creating new taxes, fines, fees and regulations than the long-term solvency of our state. They claim that expensive government programs are the best way to help Marylanders when that exact government spending is blowing up our bottom line.

If this economic philosophy sounds familiar, it’s because it is. This tax and spend agenda mimics the one that blew up our balance sheets when Martin O’Malley served as governor.

Let’s not forget that you don’t need to shake down the taxpayer to have a balanced budget. Gov. Larry Hogan proved we don’t have to choose between a state in debt or a population burdened by taxes. Fiscally responsible leadership is an option and should be a basic expectation.

Under Governor Hogan, Marylanders kept more of our own hard-earned money and the government lived within its means. We need more of that leadership — in Annapolis and in Washington, D.C.

— Anne G. and Gregory R. Brown, Frederick

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