- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2010

Maryland is on a path to become the Shakedown State. The current administration stands for tax increases, big spending and speed cameras on every street corner. Tomorrow, voters should insist on returning to a path of limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty. They can do that with a vote for Bob Ehrlich, the former Republican governor seeking to replace Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat.

Mr. O'Malley gained a slight polling advantage thanks to a negative ad barrage designed to flamboozle voters into thinking he’s the candidate who would tread most lightly on the taxpayer’s wallet. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this swindle. In 2007, Mr. O'Malley enacted increases in personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on cigarettes and the tax on vehicle titles - a package adding up to a yearly total of $1.4 billion. Mr. Ehrlich’s sin was his support for a temporary property tax increase that cost homeowners a comparatively modest $200 million. As penance, Mr. Ehrlich pledged to repeal the O’Malley sales tax increase. Mr. O'Malley’s commercials are built upon whoppers like counting the cost of a tax increase on health maintenance organizations that the Democratic General Assembly enacted over Mr. Ehrlich’s veto.

Such dishonesty is a distinctive feature of Mr. O'Malley’s administration. Upon taking office, one of his top priorities was to ram the statewide expansion of speed cameras through the legislature in the name of protecting highway workers and schoolchildren. The state government now uses speed cameras on freeways in “work zones” where there are no workers and no work is being done. The State Highway Administration has been approving the creation of brand-new “school zones” on commuter roads unconnected with any school - the real purpose has been to extract yet more money from taxpayers.

Mr. Ehrlich vetoed speed-camera legislation as governor, proving he understands that this corruption should be given no place in the Old Line State. Maryland needs Mr. Ehrlich, who will lower taxes to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in the state and restore its former prosperity.


Voters in the Eastern Shore’s 1st District have an especially important opportunity to send Andy Harris, a physician, veteran and state senator, to Congress. Dr. Harris shows a slight lead over incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr., who beat Dr. Harris by less than 3,000 votes in 2008. It’s time to remedy that mistake.

While Mr. Kratovil has been careful to avoid being linked to the liberal agenda of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, it’s a tough sell. Mr. Kratovil voted for the so-called stimulus package, which wasted $814 billion in taxpayer funds to create a handful of make-work jobs. He voted for the “cap-and-trade” bill that would raise taxes on the cost of energy. Although he voted against Obamacare, Mr. Kratovil refuses to commit to its repeal. Dr. Harris understands that the Obama-Pelosi-Hoyer agenda threatens to pull the plug on America’s long-term health.

Voters in the 5th Congressional District have the advantage of being able to target a key member of that liberal triad. Combat veteran, businessman and Tea Party activist Charles Lollar, a Republican, is taking on Mr. Hoyer. That is no small task, considering Mr. Hoyer is a professional politician who has held some sort of public office for the past 45 years - including 15 terms in Congress. Mr. Lollar’s unrestrained enthusiasm and passion for limited government show he’s a rising star in the Maryland GOP.