Much has been written concerning the recently released Maryland Commission on State Taxes and Tax Structure report, better known as the Linowes report.
Most of the letters to the editors and op-ed pieces by citizens and elected officials are filled with criticism. Ask those same people to offer some constructive suggestions to modify our antiquated and inequitable tax structure, and you get no response.
Is the public aware that R. Robert Linowes and his fellow commission members spent thousands of volunteer hours preparing this study at the request three years ago of Gov. William Donald Schaefer. How many of us would be willing to pull ourselves away from a successful business and donate much of our professional and personal time, especially on such a controversial subject, and do so without financial reward?
No one can dispute that Maryland is long overdue in overhauling its state tax system. Of course, there are elements in the report that should and will be subject to debate in the Maryland legislature. Our forward-thinking governor has decided to take on a politically sensitive subject head-on and force it to the front burner. It is now up to the legislature, in cooperation with the governor and with maximum input from the public to begin the process of fashioning a more equitable taxing and spending system.
It is incumbent upon the citizens to study the report carefully and offer their constructive comments to their elected representatives. The public need not fear that the legislature is going to pass every recommendation contained in the report. However, serious reflection will be given to it. And an attitude adjustment is in order for those opposed to sharing the wealth of some counties with areas such as Baltimore City that are badly in need of funds for their school systems. We must keep in mind that Maryland is one state, and each weak link causes the whole state to suffer.
On the federal level, revenue is shared among the states in an attempt to create equal educational opportunities and to fund other well-intended federal programs.
Making taxes more fair may help retain and attract business to Maryland, which means more jobs and other commercial benefits. Considering the recession we have entered, this should be welcomed by all. I believe Mr. Linowes deserves a big thank you from all of Maryland.
R. DAN RITCHIE Riverdale