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Editor,

In [Blair Lee’s] assertions that Maryland’s personal, business and estate taxes are the roots of a net population decrease, Gaithersburg and Montgomery County must buck this trend. Mr. Lee furnishes solid numbers for the net loss, but I once again challenge him to show the correlation to tax policies.

People, particularly young families, seldom relocate to other states due to taxes. Better job opportunities, pay increases, family relations and education prospects are far more influential in making such a decision.

Steve Whelan, Gaithersburg

Steve,

Maryland Senate President Mike Miller sees the correlation between Maryland’s high taxes and population flight: “We’re losing to Delaware, we’re losing to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee. I wish those states had not abolished their estate tax, but they have. We’re in competition to keep our Marylanders home.” That was Sen. Miller’s testimony on his bill to cut Maryland’s estate tax, which became law this year.

Want more “correlation”? When the 2013 Gallup poll asked Marylanders their top reasons for leaving, high taxes came in third. Maryland was second, behind New York, for listing taxes as a reason for leaving. Gallup’s poll analysis said: “Taxes are a uniquely important factor in New York, Illinois and Maryland.”

Another “correlation”: the bulk of fleeing Marylanders are relocating to low-tax states, especially states with little or no income tax. And Maryland, a top high-tax state, is also a top population loss state. Just a coincidence?

Finally, I offer you this letter from a Mr. Chris Smith: “As a former Marylander I can tell you that taxes — along with a laundry list of other problems — were the reason I left Maryland. It’s not just that taxes are high. The bigger issue is that every month there is a new tax or quasi-tax disguised as a bag fee, speed camera or red light fine and they all seem to keep going up.”

Face it, Steve, taxes make a big difference, especially to big taxpayers.

Blair



Mr. Lee,

Out of control children must be removed from the classroom and placed in a different school completely. Their behavior negatively impacts all of the other students.

I returned to teaching this year after retiring from another career. The children you described ruined it for the other students and for me. I left after only 3 months of teaching.

John Maxwell

John,

Sadly, the people who run today’s public schools are more interested in political correctness and pacifying “activists” than in running orderly classrooms. Now they’re applying a racial quota system to school suspensions to reduce “disparities.”

Instead of challenging young people to meet society’s educational and behavioral norms, the administrators keep lowering the bar. Meanwhile, the kids get a steady diet of “progressive” indoctrination and “self-actualization” in place of learning.

Blair



Mr. Lee,

Teaching is my second career. The first was in the Navy submarine service. You are correct about the administrative attitude toward our most disruptive students. The only person in the classroom who is held accountable is the teacher.

G. Davis

Mr. Davis,

At least when you were in the submarine service, the troublemakers were outside the sub.

Blair



Blair,

I enjoyed your column, but here on the Eastern Shore, we count Harry Hughes as a Caroline County man. He might have had a Baltimore condo while he was transportation secretary or associated with a downtown law firm, but he represented the Mid-Shore for years in the General Assembly before that.

Victor Laws III

Vic,

Yes, Harry Hughes was state senator from the Eastern Shore, but he became a Baltimorean. When he ran for governor in 1978, the election ballot listed Baltimore, not Denton, as his place of residence.

Similarly, our current governor, Martin O’Malley, was raised in Montgomery County, but considers himself a citizen of Baltimore, not Montgomery.

Blair



Dear Blair,

As the son of a former governor (Ted McKeldin), as are you (Blair Lee III), I really enjoyed your pre- and post-election articles. I’d love to know what our fathers would think of the present situation.

Ted McKelden Jr.

Dear Ted,

What would your Dad, who passed away in 1974, and my Dad, who passed away in 1985, make of today’s situation?

My guess is that, in descending order, they’d be most shocked at foreign terrorists flying hijacked airliners into N.Y. skyscrapers, an African-American community organizer defeating a white war hero for president, the Internet/cyberspace information age (and the demise of print media), same-sex marriage, rap music, three women on the Supreme Court, death penalty repeal, U.S. energy self-reliance, the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of China, drones and satellites, Hillary Clinton, Maryland’s $39 billion budget, baseball back in D.C., the rain tax, today’s cost of a college education, the Terps quitting the ACC and Marion Barry still in office.

Blair



Mr. Lee,

Please consider running for governor. We have lived here for 40 years and do not want to move, but the taxes are choking us.

Carol Davis, Gaithersburg

Carol,

According to Steve Whelan, Marylanders don’t mind paying high taxes. You must be the exception. As for the governor’s race — I wouldn’t stand a chance and, besides, I’ve already lived in the governor’s mansion. It’s not that big a deal.

Blair