Bumper-Sticker Reads: They Voted To Raise My Taxes and Lost My Vote

A new local bumper-sticker has been spotted on the roads, byways and streets of the county, as the next election cycle for county commissioners nears.  It reads: “2009- Lockhart/ Tome/ Demmler/ Hodge/ Mullin voted to raise my taxes and lost my vote.”

A couple of the Republican blogs in the county have periodicially addressed this matter as it concerned the last election, which resulted in Commissioners Mullins and Hodge being elected to the leadership position.  On the campaign trail and in advertisements, they promised to hold the line on taxes, but when the realities and responsibilities of the office faced them they voted to increase taxes.  

 Here are the links on a couple of Republican blogs where this issue is addressed in detail.





16 responses to “Bumper-Sticker Reads: They Voted To Raise My Taxes and Lost My Vote

  1. Maybe these bumper sticker folks should check the facts: Lockhart and Demmler are not running for re-election; Mullin and Hodge are not up for re-election in 2010; and only Tome is running again

    If the commissioners had not taken the steps they did,– ONLY cutting the tax rate by 2 cents– this county would be in holy hell given the state funding cutbacks that keep getting worse every few weeks. There is something to be said for playing it safe, in light of the handwriting on the wall for state aid. But of course, that doesn’t make a convenient bumper sticker for the teabagging fringe…

  2. Louise is correct, I was just about to post the same.

    The funny thing about people in the county screaming for no new taxes is that while it’s fine to lobby for no new taxes, the County is essentially a one trick pony when it comes to raising revenue through its residents, which is a property tax increase.

    What people need to lobby our elected officials (and candidates for office) for is either impact fee’s or APFO’s to help pay for our growth. We need to teach our one trick pony som new tricks!!!

  3. Patrick, by way of a little history, the previous board of commissioners (Bolender, Hepbron, etc) fought tooth and nail to get authority for impact fees from Annapolis. The delegation members were at each others’ throats with Smigiel and Pipkin battling against impact fees. Smigiel even re-invented the delegation meeting rules to claim a yes was a no and other Alice in Wonderland things.

    Finally, impact fees got through in Annapolis thanks to the rest of the delegation and after a very embarrassing defeat of Pipkin amendments in the Senate. The problem has been that since new commissioners have come on the county board they have been unwilling to use the authority they have!

  4. Louise:

    During the last election, the issue of taxes came up often enough. Whenever anyone asked Sharon, Commissioner Hodge’s opponent, to respond to the question about cutting taxes, she’d respond along these lines. She’d do the best she could to cut cost and improve the efficiency of government, but she’d never pledged to cut taxes (or hold the line). I’m sure the variations in the statements of the two candidates had an affect on this partiuclar race since it was tight. It took the absentee ballots to figure that one out since just a few votes seperated them and they had to count and recount the ballots. I suspect if she too had said she was going to hold the line on taxes or cut those taxes she’d picked up a few more votes (It didn’t require many), but she would never make that pledge.

    I fully realize the challenge with managing the budget and there is the reality of the office once you get in there. As I’ve watched the other blogs argue about this tax increase matter, it just reminds me how easy it is to say I’ll cut your taxes when you’re out there campaigning.

  5. Patrick, thanks for reminding us about that.

    I was always amazed by how challenging it was for everyone to figure out what happened with the tax rate this year. The Whig had a challenging time figuring out if it was an increase or not. In fact they had a headline indicating how taxes had been cut!

    Some of the politicians were busy trying to spin it to fit their actions and other interested officeholders created arguments supporting it. (One reliable source was the county adminstration’s press release on the subject. They called it what it was an increase in taxes and outlined it clearly. After the Whig confused me, I went over there to figure out what happened and they were right on target, as they should be.) Oh well a citizen better had be prepared to try to sort it out for the politicians and legacy media in an underserved county won’t be any help.

    It really is simple, constant yield means exactly that. The rate the state calculates as the rate that delivers exactly the same amount of tax revenue you received last year. No allowance for inflation, etc. That’s why they go to all the trouble to calculate the rate and then if a jurisidction wants more money they have to hold public hearing. While complicated, the state had devised a good system before the politicians spin it, the newspapers aren’t digging into what could be a story that will get newspapers fly off the newstands.

    I’m sure the commissioners needed that allocation as Louise mentioned and I’m sure they worked hard to remove as many inefficiencies as possible, but call it what it is. They had to get a little more revenue to make the thing work this year.

    More than ever I think an alert and informed voter poplulation is going to demand more accountability. If you make a pledge be prepared to stick with it, if you raise a tax say so and tell the people why.

  6. Mike,
    The election is over. Hodge won, Weygand lost. They are both good people. As you perform your election analysis /autopsy, please review campaign contribution reports. Hodge was not the “developers choice”. It seems as though you proffer that a DEM majority would benefit taxpayers. I direct your attention to the recent vote on the issue of a tax break of $6.5 M for the slots site in Perryville. The GOP majority (Demmler, Hodge, Mullin) voted against, while the DEMs voted for the tax break. It seems to me that the GOP saved the taxpayers $6.5 M.

  7. Mike,

    I understand that they had to get a little bit more revenue out. My point is for the future, for people to begin lobbying for growth to pay for itself. Whether it be impact fee’s, APFO’s, or TDRs we need something that is going to diversify the revenue stream and the relieve the burden placed on taxpayers.

  8. Crazy Old History Teacher


  9. Crazy Old History Teacher,

    The only republican I see on the board is Bob Amato (Not sure about Mike). I would encourage you to educate yourself on facts before spewing nonsense. I am the immediate past president of the Cecil County Young Democrats and previous Board Member of the Cecil County Democrats. My post illustrates methods in which we can RELIEVE the burden that is placed on taxpayers every year because we don’t have any diversification in our revenue streams when it comes to paying for growth.

    In defense of Bob Amato, he was simply making a point about a county wide financial issue. You mention that they also don’t have it their way anymore. While that statement is true on a national and statewide level, it is not true on the county level, the Republicans do have the majority, which is what Bob was directly speaking about.

  10. Bob:

    Thanks for surfing over to Someone Noticed to comment on our brief post about spottng a bumper sticker protesting the fact that the commissioners raised taxes in Cecil County.

    When we put that up, it had been a slow news week on Someone Noticed (the Mayor and Commissioners weren’t creating news), so after seeing the bumper sticker I thought I’d add another post that would quickly become archived in the backpages of the weblog. Gee was I wrong about that!

    It’s an attention generating topic! It’s caused lots of hits and posts. t’s either a very sensitive matter or of great importance depending on our visitors, for it is still getting lots of hits. And the comments have kept on coming on this site and other places in the blogosphere. In fact there were some informative changes over on the Young Republican’s blog, over on the news aggregator (Topix), and elsewhere. Some of those were informed discussions about party policy. Others were noise as people started pointing fingers. Whatever the case thelp me understand this subject more deeply and that’s good for public policy discussion, especially since we’ll not find written critically examinations in Cecil County’s legacy media, the way we once did.

    You’re absolutely right the Nov. 2008 election is over. No question about that. But to examine where things stand, one has to look to the past, especially when it’s recent. What better place to acquire data with validity but to look back at the election just a short time ago, evaluate the affect, and begin to contemplate how it might produce outcomes in the upcoming election cycle. It’s always important to have insightful data-driven understandings.

    Thus since those bumper stickers are flaoting around, the “Teabaggers” are gathering on the courthouse steps, and the matter has the attention of new media in Cecil County, I’m curious about all these elements and had to go to the recent historical data for the underpinings for my conclusions.

    That generated a really rather straightforward conclusion: The comments the two candidates made about raising taxes in the district commissioner’s race affected the outcome of a tight race, one that took a long time to settle because of the nearness of the vote. Not much to it and the facts are there to support that basic finding.

    On the other points you raise about both of them being good people, certanly we agree with that. I suspect all the candidates in all the races in Cecil County were really good people, but that’s something we’d never address here.

    On your point about examining, the campaign contributions for the two, one of the Cecil County Blogs, a quality one with strong, insightful pieces (Cecil Times) when they’re produce pieces, did that. With the quality of original content over there, I’d really like to seem more of that type of reporting in Cecil County. One could build a viable business model for legacy media around that style of content, but not around providing commodity information or providing infomercials for the elected officeholders.

    Thanks for directing my attention to how the GOP majority voted against the cainso matter. I saw that in the newspapers and they are to be thanked for that.

    Thanks Bob. Those are my added thoughts on a a few sentences about a bumper sticker.

  11. Patrick:

    Crazy History Teacher is quick to hit hard and facts don’t tend to get in the way, with most of his wide ranging observations.

    Quickly reading the posts, he probalby thought you too were a Republican defending the tax increase as you pointed out ways to diverisfy the revenue stream.

    T00, I guess Crazy History Teacher doesn’t recognize the fact that the Republicans have the majority control of the Board of County Commissioners. Probably all the arguments that are going on about them raising taxes are confusing him. I guess he’s looking for a Jeffersonian philosphy and not finding that he thinks the Democrats have control of the board!

    Got me. If you didn’t have a scorecard and the requisite data from the past, the discussion could confuse one, perhaps!

    There are realities of being in office. Once you get there you see the impacts cuts will have and it becomes hard to cut worthy or critically needed programs. I suspect that’s simply the reality here, but that’ s might conjecture.

  12. Oh by-the-way, I was speaking figuratively when I said the “teabaggers” are at the courthouse door. That’s over in Harford County where they literally gather on the courthouse steps in downtown Bel Air. In Cecil County they head out to Route 40, where there’s traffic and they can people to hear their messsage.

  13. Mike,

    I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I completely understand the realities of being in office, which is why it is difficult to harp on them for raising taxes, when that is the only method that they are currently using to raise money. Again, diversifying our revenue streams with impact fee’s, APFO’s or TDR’s would greatly relieve the burden currently placed on property owners.

    This really has been a great thread. Thank you Mike, for the service that you provide!

  14. Just what you expect from politicans. Tell us they wont raise taxes just to get our vote. Then when they win that job they find they got to raise them. Stop the excuses. dont promise it if you cant stick with it. People arent going to be fooled next time. We had enough. Just look at the crowds at our teaparty rallies and those same politicans want to come out and join us tax protesters. No. Not after taking more money from us. NO.

  15. Patrick:

    Surprised me. This one took right off creating a discussion here and on other sites in the blogsphere. It involved a range of views from that of party officials to just everyday citizens and a tired old history teacher. Perhaps, so that it’s easier to follow for somone just stepping into the discussion, I’ll summarize the topic and the range of the discussion so it’s easier for readers to follow. It took off over off over on other sites too, and a related subject was going back and forth over on the Young Republican Blog, and I can pull it all together for a quick reading.

    It’s been some-time since we’ve had such an active discussion. We’ve had larger ones such as when we were addressing sensitive topics. For example when Elkton was trying to turn over historic property to a developer and when the Mayor and Commissioners of Elkton get involved in controversial matters. But I thought this one wouldn’t amount to anything as far as discussion since the various politically-oriented blogs are handling it thoroughly.

  16. Rob thanks for sharing your viewpoint.

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