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My tax increase is smaller than your tax increase

Governor

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr (R) usedd his annual address to the General Assembly this afternoon to tout his fiscal stewardship and the state's $1.2 billion budget surplus.

Just in time for the speech, the Maryland Democratic Party has put out its own take on the governor's record of handling the state's finances. The party has counted up $3 billion in taxes, fees and tolls increased during Ehrlich's tenure. In a report entitled "Gov. Ehrlich's Fiscal Insanity," the Democrats dub the first GOP governor in a generation "$3 Billion Bob - taking more from the taxpayers, leaving the next governor with massive deficits."

The tally, compiled from a report by the Department of Legislative Services, includes the nearly 5-cent increase in the state property tax rate, higher car registration fees and the $30 flush fee to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.

"The perception that Ehrlich is trying to create is that he's a responsible fiscal manager who has blocked attempts that have been made to raise taxes. The truth, as evidenced by his record, speaks the total opposite," said Derek Walker, executive director of the party. "He's become the quintessential tax and spend politician."

Henry Fawell, the governor's press secretary, said Ehrlich is keeping his own tally: $7.5 billion in tax increases proposed by lawmakers in the last three years that were either vetoed by the governor or defeated during the legislative process, in part by the Ehrlich administration.

The governor's report is also culled from analysis by the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services.

"The governor is always on the side of lower taxes and he has done that," Fawell said.

The fees, tolls and taxes increased during Ehrlich's term, he added, were for specific purposes such as cleaning up the Bay or road projects.

The governor's speech, at noon today, will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on Maryland Public Television (MPT). It will also be podcast and posted on line no later than 5 p.m., the station reports.

By Ann Marimow  |  January 26, 2006; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Governor  
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