Government Bytes


Look Maryland, No Tax Hikes! Virginia Shows How It Can Be Done

by Brent Mead / /

This week, Virginia gives preliminary approval to a new budget proposal absent of major tax hikes and free of most gimmicks. Yet, neighboring Maryland is seeking another round of record-setting, job-killing tax hikes.

It is an old story, but not a good one for taxpayers, as the Maryland State Senate and Governor O’Malley continue to mislead citizens by claiming tax hikes offer the only path to a balanced budget. A familiar refrain, reminiscent of the talk in states like Illinois and California, that have forsaken any shred of budgetary discipline.

Maryland continues to risk going down this economically damaging tax and spend path. Indeed, Virginia was tempted to take this direction as well, but its leaders chose a different approach. It may not be perfect, but promises a more prosperous destination for its citizens.

Some stark examples of how Maryland and Virginia's policy differences have impacted both states:

  • Virginia went from a projected deficit of over $4 billion to a budget surplus of $402 million, primarily by controlling spending and easing tax and regulatory burdens.
  • Maryland, despite passing the largest tax increase in state history four years ago, faces a billion-dollar deficit this year and is again considering massive tax hikes.
  • Virginia won a high-stakes regional battle in 2010 over Maryland and the District of Columbia to lure defense giant Northrop Grumman’s headquarters.
  • Maryland-based Bechtel Corporation announced it would relocate to Virginia, bringing 625 jobs and $18 million in investment.
  • Acentia, located in Silver Spring, also announced it would move to Fairfax, costing Maryland 60 jobs and investing $3.1 million in its new Virginia headquarters.
  • Maryland is ranked 42nd in business climate versus Virginia’s 26th. It comes as no surprise that Maryland has the 5th-highest tax burden in the nation.

Virginia lawmakers deserve praise for making the right decisions on their budget. On the other side of the border, taxpayers and businesses must keep fighting to prevent Maryland politicians from perhaps permanently crippling their economy.