Former MDGOP Chair and candidate for National Committeewoman, Audrey Scott issued the following response to recent criticism of her attendance at a rally in support of raising taxes to to support increased infrastructure spending.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It has come to my attention that there is an effort underway to discredit and misrepresent my attendance at an event in Annapolis last week. I think it is important to tell you the facts of the situation.
Last Thursday there was a rally at Lawyers Mall to protest the perpetual raiding of the Transportation Trust Fund by Governors to benefit the State's general operating budget. Since our State requires a balanced budget, Governors have repeatedly raided the Trust Fund for cash (so they don’t have to cut the budget).
Unfortunately, Gov. O'Malley has not repaid the Trust Fund, instead he wants to use it's depletion as a gimmick to gain the public's approval to raise taxes. In other words, to use the revenue from the new taxes to fill up the Trust Fund (which he will then raid again and again and again).
Who suffers? We do. The Transportation Trust Fund is used to pay for road and bridge construction and repairs of which much goes directly to Counties and Municipalities. There has not been a new road or bridge project in the Transportation Trust Fund for 2 years, and every existing project in the Trust Fund has been pushed back indefinitely. Our State is now sitting on a ticking time bomb – to the tune of $1.5 billion in urgent road and bridge repairs.
As a former Mayor and County Councilwoman, I know firsthand that cessation of transportation projects in our state is 1) a public safety issue and 2) has driven multiple companies out of business and thousands of workers into unemployment.
Republicans in the Legislature are in the process of introducing legislation to enforce that Transportation Trust Fund dollars must be used to finance transportation projects. I strongly support this legislation.
My goal in attending the event was to support the Republican Trust Fund legislation. We must put the "Trust back in the Trust Fund."
Some people are stating that my support to put the "trust back in the Trust Fund" means that I support a gas tax. This is dishonest and wrong. I do not support tax increases. I support cutting the budget. Period.
Supporting the Trust Fund does not mean you support a gas tax. I reject these kind of "gotcha politics" and it has no place in our Party and has no place in the race for National Committeewoman.
Rather, we need to focus our attention on fighting the Democrats … not each other!
I will confront any distortions about my record or my actions head on and I welcome your phone call to answer any of your questions.
Audrey E. Scott
I believe Audrey Scott does indeed oppose tax increases however, more context is needed.
Scott works for Chaney Enterprises, which bills itself as "one of the leading suppliers of construction materials and supplies in the Mid-Atlantic.”
No doubt Chaney Enterprises would benefit from any increased infrastructure spending resulting from a hike in the gas tax.
I personally like Audrey Scott. I thought she did yeoman’s work in what is the thankless task of MDGOP Chair. However, I spend quite a bit of time railing against business lobbying to get from government—at taxpayer expense—what they can’t in the free market. While Scott can reconcile the contradiction of her personal opposition to tax increases while simultaneously advocating in her employer’s interests for them, I cannot.
Just look at the murderers row of corporatists supporters of the gas tax increase who staged the rally Scott attended. Looking at you Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Greater Baltimore Committee, Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Sure these groups mask their objectives in the guise of “public-private partnerships," but they are merely a clever conceit for funneling more taxpayer money to politically connected private interests. See State Center and offshore wind.
Furthermore, GBC, GWBOT, and the Chamber are fooling themselves if they think the temple monkeys in Annapolis would ever wall off a pot full of cash they can raid to cover their profligate general fund spending.
Too many conservatives and Republicans forget, or are ignorant of the fact that being “pro-business” is not the same as being “pro-free market.” Remember big business loves big government.
Exposing the corporatist aspects of Maryland Democratic Party rule is a powerful tool we can use to show how they've made Maryland a lucrative a place for the politically connected few at the expense of the rest of us.
Scott says we need to "focus our attention on fighting Democrats." I agree, but it doesn't help the cause when she--intentionally or not--defuses one of our best arguments.