Friday, June 26, 2009

Soaked Rich Swim to Safety in Maryland, Picasso's Budget

Maryland tried to soak the rich, but they swam off.

Trying to settle what liberals here in Connecticut call “a revenue problem,” a cash shortage in their budget, Maryland legislators enacted a higher tax bracket for “millionaires.” Here in the land of steady bad habits, Democrats are seeking to plunder “millionaires” who earn more than $750,000; call them mini-millionaires.

Democrats hope to raise $1.5 billion in increased income taxes and $125 million in new fee increases to pay for their improvident spending. The Democrat plan, almost certain to face a gubernatorial veto, would raise the state income tax on couples earning more than &170,000 by 7.5%, a 50 percent rate increase.

Maryland boosted its top bracket to 6.25 percent.


One third of Maryland’s “millionaires” disappeared from the tax roles and took up residence in Virginia, Delaware and Florida, all less tax punishing states.

And now, even though Maryland is colleting more money from its vanishing “millionaires,” it is hauling in $100 million less a year from the mobile rich.

National Review, an oasis of good sense in a nation of thoughtless liberals, reasons: “Capital is mobile. So are capitalists.”

The more Connecticut's governor talks about state finances, the more she begins to sound like Thomas Paine – or Margaret Thatcher, giving the evil eye to political wastrels.

Connecticut does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. And its spending problem has been caused by Democrat legislatures and Republican governors that together have been folding billion dollar surpluses into the state budget ever since former Gov. Lowell Weicker, who some disgruntled Republicans consider a menace, muscled the legislature into passing an income tax. All that excess money was spent and it bloated future budgets. Now we have a $37 billion fat-boy budget on our hands, and Democrats still insist the state has no spending problem. It has, the Democrat caucus iterates in unison, a revenue problem – which means this: “The proposed two year [Democrat] budget,” the Harford Courant reported, “calls for 2.5 billion in tax increases and about $1 billion in spending cuts…”

As my old Aunt Lena once said, looking somewhat abstractedly at Picasso’s “Portrait De Femme” – “As a portrait of a lady, it’s a failure because the proportions are wrong; as a painting, it’s a failure, because it lacks beauty.”

The recently proposed Democrat budget – these guys had months to bring forth this improvident mouse – is both unlovely and an insult to the laws of economics, one of which is: When you find yourself in an economic hole, stop digging.

"The Democrats' budget,” Rell said according to a story in the Republican American, “goes in precisely the wrong direction at precisely the wrong time. It is neither balanced nor remotely realistic ... It contains so many holes — together with unachievable spending cuts — that new and higher taxes would be needed each and every year for years to come,"

Taking the long view, Rell is most interested in positioning her state so that, when good times return, Connecticut will not be, shall we say, another Maryland.

Republicans have been somewhat shocked at Rell’s steely resolve. Other Republican governors, including Rell herself, have taken bows in the direction of fiscal responsibility, only to surrender later in budget negotiations to importunate Democrat leaders. You say “no, no” with your lips, but your eyes say “yes, yes.” It is all part of the budget mating game.

In past times, when Connecticut was flush with surpluses, no one much cared that the state was even then digging itself into a hole. But now, waist deep in red ink, some politicians are seriously engaged in political reform, and wouldn’t it be refreshing to count Rell among their number when the saints come marching in?

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