Bob Ehrlich’s habit of rewriting history and wishing away his record was on display a couple of Saturdays ago, when he told his radio audience he did not raise taxes in 2003. Ha!
Less than two months after swearing in that year following a campaign against raising taxes, Bob Ehrlich proposed a a 57 percent property tax hike, and he can’t blame legislative Democrats since he enacted it through the Board of Public Works.
The next year Bob Ehrlich raised taxes over $2 billion. Then in 2006, when Maryland and 42 other states reaped huge revenue surpluses from the real estate bubble (as did then-Mayor O’Malley’s Baltimore City), Bob Ehrlich broke a record, submitting the largest annual spending increase in modern Maryland history. Thankfully, legislative Democrats scaled back Mr. Ehrlich’s budget, over Republican protests.
Actions speak louder than words. Over his term, Bob Ehrlich raised taxes almost $3 billion, transfered funds to cover budget deficits, relied on federal bailouts, and grossly outspent his successor, Gov. O'Malley.
Bob Ehrlich's radio fantasy continued the following Saturday, when he told that same audience his congressional pension wasn't excessive because, he said, "we fixed that with the Contract with America." His wife said, "when you were in Congress, they adjusted those types of benefits to fit federal employees, under speaker Newt Gingrich." This is a pure figment of their imagination. Pensions were not even mentioned in the Contract with America, most of which was not enacted anyhow, and they were not altered while Bob Ehrlich was in Congress.
Compliments of the taxpayers, Bob Ehrlich has three defined benefit pensions that grow more generous over time from the Maryland legislature, Congress, and his gubernatorial term. If he really believed these plans were too generous, he could have opted out, as Newt Gingrich did when he was first elected to Congress (until he quietly opted back in ten years later).
So Mr. Ehrlich is a plain hypocrite, pandering to his radio listeners about state legislative pensions when he has one himself, not to mention two additional defined benefit pensions with pay-outs that increase over time, compliments of the taxpayers. The fact that Bob Ehrlich is out of touch with the reality of his own record as an elected official, let alone his personal retirement plan, should give voters pause.
For more rewriting of history, distortion, and pure fantasy, listen to the Ehrlichs’ WBAL radio show Saturday mornings 9am to 11am.- Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis