Photos and text by Glynis Kazanjian
About 300 Maryland Tea Partiers rallied today at Lawyer’s Mall to protest Congressional redistricting “gerrymandering” and potential tax increases proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley earlier this week.
Del. Michael Smigiel, (R-Cecil County), lead the group which included numerous members of the legislative Tea Party Caucus and prominent Republican figures including Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Charles Lollar of Americans for Prosperity and former gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey.
“There are two points we want to make clear today,” Smigiel said. “We don’t want to see any new taxes by the State Legislature and do not gerrymander our vote!”
Both Sauerbrey and Lollar stressed the state has to find a way to become more business friendly to increase the state’s tax base revenue.
Contrary to O’Malley’s call Tuesday for a possible 15 percent gasoline tax, Sauerbrey said, “The focus should not be on what else we can tax. Look at the tax base, companies do not come to Maryland.”
Sauerbrey named off a dozen businesses that recently decided to not stay in Maryland or not relocate to Maryland. “Sun Edison,” she said was a good example that no one is talking about.
Sauerbrey said Maryland was recently cited as the 50th worst state in the country for job creation.
Sauerbrey said a more fundamental problem for Maryland is its spending.
“The state budget shouldn’t grow faster than the collective taxes of its citizens. It’s not sustainable.”
Former Congressional candidate and outgoing state AFP director Charles Lollar received some of the loudest cheers when he took the stage, stating repeatedly that Maryland continues to head in the wrong direction because of its spending habits and unfriendly business climate.
“It’s time for our legislators to start walking with a sense of urgency,” Lollar said.
“When it comes to taxation, it’s about every American. This is not about party affiliation or skin-colored Americans.”
Pennsylvania has about twice as many people as Maryland and their budget is $27 billion. Maryland’s budget is $34 billion. Don’t tell me there’s not a spending problem in our state,” Lollar said.
Protestors carried signs reading “TEA – Taxed Enough Already”; “Hands off District 6” and “OWE Malley, you have run out of our money” and wore stickers reading, “STOP Gerrymandering!”