Jacobs piece heavy on tax complaints, light on viable alternatives

I read Sen. Nancy Jacobs' recent commentary on higher tolls and taxes in hopes that someone opposed to the increases would offer some viable alternatives ("Marylanders' wallets run on empty," July 2).

Sadly, I found it to be another "Oh-that-awful-O'Malley," "Oh-those-horrible-Democrats" rant — heavy on complaining and light on suggestions for raising the needed funds without increasing tolls or the gas tax.

Hey, I don't like the increases either. But the money to maintain and repair roads and bridges has to come from somewhere. ("Pay back what they took from the transportation fund!" is what some respond. But getting a straight answer about whether or not the state has or hasn't been trying to do exactly that is harder than I would have expected.)

Here's what jumped out at me in Ms. Jacobs' piece: "In just the past two years alone we've seen car registration double (don't forget that the gas tax legislation tacked another $3.50 to the registration fee)," Ms. Jacobs writes.

Well, I own four cars, and I'm well aware of what registration fees are. I spent $308 to renew the tags on two of them this year. And I well recall the last time vehicle registration fees increased. Just to confirm exactly when that was, I went through the glove compartment of a car I've owned since 2001 and pulled out the old registration cards. When I renewed the plates on that car in 2003, the registration fee was $76.00 for two years. The next time I renewed them, in 2005, the fee was $128.00, which was what it cost when I renewed those plates in May.

Let's see: Who was governor between 2003 and 2005? Who responded to complaints about that $53 increase — $26.50 per year, or 69 percent — by saying "it's not a tax, it's a fee?"

I'll give you a hint: He often appears on the same page as Ms. Jacobs' piece — and he has the same party affiliation as she.

Paul Balze, Glen Burnie