From an editorial Sept. 29 in the Baltimore Evening Sun:

Samuel A. Culotta, the Republican candidate for mayor {of Baltimore}, would like to impose a commuter tax on out-of-city dwellers who work in Baltimore. The reasoning behind a commuter tax makes a certain amount of sense. Cities, such as Baltimore, provide a vast array of services supported by city taxpayers but enjoyed by commuters. Directly, the city must pay for part of the wear and tear on its arterial roads, for the police who handle rush-hour traffic, for parks and other facilities enjoyed by the commuters. Also directly, the city provides a disproportionate support of cultural institutions. . . . Indirectly, the city has most of the untaxed nonprofit institutions, which means they are subsidized by city taxpayers, often for the use of noncity dwellers. Morally, the commuter tax makes sense in that Baltimore is the custodian of a disproportionate share of the nontaxpaying poor and aged.

Hundreds of municipalities in the United States impose commuter taxes (or earnings or payroll taxes as they are often called) for the reasons described above. In proposing this for Baltimore, however, Culotta is walking into a hornet's nest. He should remember that in 1966 Baltimore, briefly, imposed a commuter tax, collected at the source. What happened is too complicated to recount in detail here, but suffice it to say the angry suburban counties retaliated and nullified the benefits to Baltimore. . . .

We don't blame the Republican candidate for suggesting a commuter tax, but we despair of its ever being enacted.