I mostly applaud the May 27 front-page story "Increases in User Fees May Tarnish Ehrlich's Anti-Tax Credentials," which revealed the hypocrisy of the Ehrlich administration. His dodge of not raising income or sales taxes needed to be exposed for what it is.
However, the article would have been more complete if it had included the fact that many counties, including mine, Frederick, also are raising taxes and fees and imposing new ones.
Though Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) finds increases in user fees preferable to tax increases, many consumers see no difference.
I have received calls from consumers stunned by the nearly threefold rise last year in the cost of death certificates in Maryland: from $7 to $20 a certified copy. Their dismay is justified. Survivors must purchase a certified copy for every legal transaction; in other words, one copy each to remove the name of a deceased from bank accounts, retirement funds, insurance policies, motor vehicle registrations, real estate and tax records, and stock, bond, and credit card accounts. Thus a survivor might easily need 10 certified copies, now costing $200.
Consumers of all incomes must pay this exorbitant fee. How does that differ from a regressive tax?
NANCY J. HERIN
Funeral Consumers Alliance
of Maryland & Environs