Hogan calls for elimination of state taxes on military pensions; says O’Malley-Brown administration policies particularly hurt those on fixed incomes.
Ocean City, MD – July 16, 2014 – Speaking before the Maryland American Legion’s annual convention here, gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan today said as governor he would eliminate Maryland’s income tax on military pensions. The Anne Arundel County businessman has for several years been among the state’s most vocal critics of the O’Malley-Brown administration’s 40 straight tax increases and their disproportionate impact on those on fixed incomes.
The full text of Hogan’s remarks at the American Legion Department of Maryland’s annual convention in Ocean City follows:
Thank you, I’m happy to be with you and I appreciate this opportunity to speak with so many members of Maryland’s American Legion.
Let me start by sincerely thanking each and every one of you for your service. It is indeed an honor to be here with you.
Maryland’s sons and daughters have fought and died in every battle since the Revolutionary War. Many of you made incredible sacrifices fighting to protect our way of life.
Whether it was in a field in France, in the South Pacific, the hills of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, the streets of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan, you gave more of yourselves than most of us can ever fully know.
Thousands of Marylanders have made the ultimate sacrifice and countless more bear visible and invisible wounds that in many cases will never heal.
Often decades after you hung up your fatigues you are still working tirelessly in many ways to strengthen our communities, to build up the next generation of leaders and to advocate for your fellow veterans.
In many ways, you’ve never stopped serving, and our state and our nation are better off because of it.
Whether it’s the shameful service at the V.A. hospitals, particularly here in Maryland; or it’s the failures of the state of Maryland in administering your important programs, you deserve better.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has raised taxes 40 consecutive times, taking an additional $10 billion out of the pockets of struggling Maryland families, with most of these taxes hitting people on fixed incomes, such as military pensions, particularly hard.
For nearly eight years my opponent has opposed giving meaningful economic relief to veterans. It’s just one on the many areas where we strongly disagree.
I want you to know that when I have the honor of serving as your governor you will no longer be neglected; instead, in every way possible, you’ll be respected.
For starters, I am announcing this morning that my plan is to completely eliminate Maryland’s income tax on military pensions.
This tax is not only bad economic policy, it’s also unfair to the men and women who have served our state and fought for our nation. You earned this tax break. You earned it.
On day one we’ll get to work on this, and with the support of the 450,000 Maryland soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines standing behind us, I’m confident we'll even be able to convince the tax-and-spend politicians in Annapolis that it is the right thing to do.
When they took office, Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown created a state task force on veterans that came up with more than a dozen recommendations to improve services to you and your families.
Unfortunately, it’s been almost eight years and almost none of these recommendations have ever been addressed or implemented.
We’ve reviewed hundreds of audits from the past several years and have already identified nearly $2 billion in waste, fraud and abuse.
A 2010 audit of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs found that the management systems were so badly broken or non-existent that they were potentially wasting millions of tax dollars that were supposed to go to help you.
Shockingly, another audit in 2013 found that the O’Malley-Brown Administration hadn’t even bothered to act on many of the previous audits.
When I become your next governor, every agency head will be put on notice that their jobs will depend on addressing every problem identified in these audits.
After we cut wasteful spending and get our economy back on track, in addition to eliminating the taxes on your military pensions, we’ll also begin to roll back these 40 O’Malley-Brown tax increases quickly as possible, because they are strangling middle class families and hurting our economy.
We’re going to run the government more efficiently and more cost-effectively so we can put more money into programs to help people like you who need and deserve it.
Whether it’s a $250 million health exchange debacle, mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the widespread incompetence and mismanagement throughout the current administration, for eight long years clearly we’ve seen the cost of one-party rule with no checks and balances in Annapolis. The people of Maryland simply can’t afford another four years of O’Malley-Brown tax and spend politics as usual.
An overwhelming majority of Marylanders regardless of their party affiliation are fed-up with politics as usual and desperately want to see a change in leadership in Annapolis. My priorities are jobs, middle class families and restoring our economy and I’m going to fight to get the government off our backs, out of our pockets so we can grow the private sector, put people back to work and turn our economy around.
This is not just another typical fight between Democrats and Republicans, it’s more important than that. This is a fight for Maryland’s future, and it’s a fight worth fighting. It’s the people in this room who can really make a difference turning our state around. I’m going to do everything I can, but I can’t do it without your help.
When it comes to serving veterans and their families, strengthening our economy, bringing jobs back to the state, lowering the cost of living, eliminating waste and cutting taxes; when I have the honor of being your governor, I promise you will have a tireless advocate fighting for you in Annapolis.
Thank you for your time this morning, thank you again for your service to our nation and our state. May God bless you, the state of Maryland, and the United States of America.