"We are Out of Money"

Commentary by Ron Miller

Commentary by Ron MillerNote: This statement was presented on November 17, 2009 at the League of Women Voters Legislative Evening, held at the Calvert Pines Senior Center in Prince Frederick, Md.

Good evening; I'm Ron Miller, the communications director for the Calvert County Republican Central Committee. Thanks to the League of Women Voters for conducting this forum, and thanks to our legislative delegation for making the time to be here. It is much appreciated.

I am not here to request funding for any program because I know you cannot squeeze water from a stone. As we approach the next session of the General Assembly, I implore each of you to apply the wisdom with which you've been blessed to make what are sure to be very difficult decisions in the months ahead.

As you know, the state is projecting record budget deficits of $2 billion this upcoming fiscal year and $2.7 billion the year after that. Federal stimulus funding provided some relief but not enough, and it goes away after two years. Each of you and everyone in this room needs to wrap your minds around the sober fact that, in the words of Nobel-winning physicist Ernest Rutherford, "We haven't got the money, so we've got to think!"

In times like these, the temptation to tax is high, but Maryland's tax rates are already the 4th highest in the nation, exceeding even those of California, a once prosperous state undergoing a fiscal meltdown. Raising taxes in a recession, as we have learned, does not result in higher revenue for the state.

Spending cuts are probably the most likely path to take, and this presents us with an opportunity to ask the critical question, "Should government be doing this?" I ask you to pose that question frequently during the upcoming session and, if you conclude a program is not inherently governmental, or has not delivered its intended public result, have the courage to say "no."

For the mid-to long term, what we need in Maryland is jobs. When businesses thrive, people are hired and put to work. When people are working, the tax base expands. We are in competition with Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware for new businesses, and they will lower their corporate taxes and lessen their regulations in order to win their fair share.

We should follow their lead. Maryland has a reputation, whether or not it is deserved, of being hostile to businesses, and if we ever expect a long-term solution to this budget crisis, we need to overcome our biases and understand that you cannot love jobs but hate the job creators.

When we create a positive climate for the producers, innovators and entrepreneurs, we all benefit. We need to set aside class warfare and realize that capitalism is still the most effective economic engine in the history of the world, generating wealth and putting more money in people's pockets.

In short, Maryland needs wealth, and government cannot create wealth; it can only take wealth and move it around depending on the whims of our elected officials. The "makers" in Maryland must be given a chance to succeed; even the "takers" suffer when the "makers" aren't producing. Only through prudent, common-sense decisions on the part of our legislative delegation can we begin to find our way out of the fiscal crisis in which we find ourselves.

Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a conservative blogger and activist, former and future candidate for the Maryland Senate, and communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party. Ron is a regular contributor to RegularFolksUnited.com, RedCounty.com, and ProLifeUnity.com. You can also follow Ron on his website TeamRonMiller.com, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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