The Eastern Shore has always been a distinctive region, and has several times attempted to split off from the state of Maryland. Proposals have been debated in the Maryland General Assembly in 1833-1835, 1852 and most recently in 1998 for the Eastern Shore becoming its own state. Early proposals encompassed a state of the entire Delmarva Peninsula. The proposal in 1998 by state Senators Richard F. Colburn and J. Lowell Stoltzfus did not specifically specify the status of the nine counties of the Eastern Shore after secession. However, they did sponsor a Maryland Senate Bill - (SB 564) - that would have provided a question to be placed on the 1998 General Election ballot. The initiative would have tested the waters for the eastern shore to become its own separate state. And, as a lifelong eastern shore resident - I can assure you with a certain degree of accuracy that the measure would most likely have passed because of the eastern shore's conservative values, and principles.
Grounds for Secession
From the Atlantic Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay - (eastern shore) - we have just 4 Senators out 47 Senators or just 8.5% of the Senatorial body. On the Delegate side we have only 12 Delegates out of 141 Delegates or just 8.5% of the Legislative body. However, land wise the eastern shore comprises 1/3 of the Maryland's land area. In population - Maryland's eastern shore only comprises about 8% or 420,792 - (2004) census estimate.
Special Interest Is Stripping Easternshore's Autonomy
This past Maryland legislative session SB 590 - Fairness In Negotiations Act - was passed by the Maryland General Assembly. In essence - passage of this key piece of legislation circumvents each Counties elected or appointed school board decisions and thus subjects the local decisions to central power - The Governor. This piece of legislation will allow for the local school barganing unit to appeal virtually any decision that it is not satisfied with - thus stripping local autonomy. And guess who appoints the Appeals Board - The Governor. Moreover, strong State central control over population growth allocation, business development, and environmental regulation is circumventing the easternshore's right to self-govern.
Sales Tax Collections Not Being Returned Back To Locality
As a devout reader in all of Maryland's House & Senate Bill synopsis for each of the past 5 legislative sessions - I can assure the typical eastern shore citizen - that our aspiring views are not held with the same weight and respect as we might be led to believe. For example under -both -Republican and Democratic Governorships - I have been personally informed by each administration and the State's Comptrollers offices that they were working on a formula to try and ascertain as to how much of the sales tax collections were actually being returned back into each respective District. After all isn't it fair to assume that what comes in - (sales tax revenues) - should stay in - as opposed to being funneled out into Districts that don't share in our representation. This is what I thought our Constitution was suppose to be about - to protect our population from taxation without representation. Then why should entities like the Maryland Stadium Authority and Baltimore Development Corporation be entitled to proceeds that come from our region. Do we - (eastern shore) - realize the same significant benefit?
Maryland Motorist Fuel Tax Not Being Returned Back To Locality
Or how about our Maryland fuel tax that is collected here on the shore in the millions and then we suddenly realize that all but $200,000 is being returned to Wicomico County.
Maryland's Unfunded State Employee Pensions
Let's not forget that Maryland's unfunded liability for its state employee pension system has now gone from just under $3 billion in 2004 to over $17 billion.
Maryland Retiree Health Care Benefits
We also have unfunded liability for retiree health care benefits that are over $15 billion dollars.
So all told we have over $32 billion in unfunded liability that is just simply being ignored.
Frederick County Also Taking Up Secession Study
Don't think that we aren't alone either - (Kent, Cecil, Caroline, Queen Anne, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester). Just this past month a Frederick County Commissioner, Republican Lennie Thompson, also made the suggestion for Frederick County to Secede. In fact, the Commissioners have already formally met to study the benefits of such a move.
In light of all of the above cited items - wouldn't it be prudent to either split and form our own separate State - or - alternatively, join-up with another entity - like Delaware - in order to allow our people to decide on how best to govern ourselves?
Soon to be elected officials - perk-up. If you aren't listening - now is a high time to be attentive!