Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Editorial: Maryland's Bungling Created Bogus Case for Tax Increase

During this year's General Assembly session, proponents of a 3-percent increase in the tax on alcoholic beverages argued that more revenue was needed for - among other things - programs to help the developmentally disabled. It was a powerful argument; who wants to deny help to the disabled?
The increase was eventually signed into law, raising the tax to 9 percent. The revenue from this allocated to the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration was to start at $5 million in fiscal 2012 and go up to $15 million by fiscal 2014.
In light of this, it's confounding to hear officials of the agency admit that the DDA left $25 million in state funding unspent over the last two years, so that it had to be returned to the state's general fund. The DDA also had a $12 million surplus in its federal Medicaid match. In total, the agency had some $38 million available that it wasn't spending on more than 20,000 disabled Marylanders - not to mention the thousands on the agency's waiting list.

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