District 7A Delegates “Year End Highlights for 2023” Part 1

District 7A Delegates Ryan Nawrocki and Kathy Szeliga have submitted their Year End Highlights for 2023 as they look forward to the new year and the 2024 Legislative Session. Here is Part One –

As we prepare for a new year filled with resolutions and growth, we took some time to review the highlights of what has taken place between the 2023 and upcoming 2024 legislative sessions.  Once we return to Baltimore County after Sine Die, the work does not end.

Advocacy, Community Service, and Constituent Support is critical all year round.  Read below what District 7A has faced and accomplished over these past 9 months.

Juvenile Crime Hearings

You’ve heard us sound the alarm more than once – juvenile crime is plaguing Maryland.  From 2021 to 2023, the numbers show us that crime under 13-years-old has risen by 45-50%.  And we think this is a low number because kids under 13 are no longer charged with crime.  All juvenile crime, regardless of age, is up over 100%.

Over the last several years, the focus of lawmakers has moved away from public safety and the victims of crime and has instead focused more on the well-being of those who commit crimes.  The House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis has hosted three hearings over the past few months to focus on juvenile crime.  Lawmakers know juvenile crime must be addressed.

The President of the State FOP, Clyde Boatwright, told the House Judiciary Committee that the current system of referring juvenile offenders to a social worker is no remedy when a young person continues to commit certain crimes.

Thinking that a program youth offenders have to volunteer to participate in was illogical. Addressing criminal activities in court has accountability and will ensure that kids involved in criminal activities get the help they need. And it will protect the public.

Recently, a 79-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint in front of her house by a kid. And an 11-year-old has stolen at least 18 cars in Baltimore County. A judge would have taken action long before the 18th victim of car theft. Over the interim, we attended multiple Police Community Relations Council Meetings across our district including Parkville, White Marsh, and Essex.  In every meeting, the voices of our constituents were loud and clear about their fears regarding juvenile crime.

We also attended a community meet-up at Oak Park Playground in the Seven Courts Neighborhood in Perry Hall to listen to constituents who worry about the drug use and criminal activity of teens in a formerly safe and pleasant recreational area for children.

The Baltimore County Police Department said that juvenile crime is a crisis nationwide.  It’s time to focus on criminal accountability to make our nation safer.  We are cosponsoring legislation in 2024 to address crime and hold juveniles who are committing crimes against the public accountable.

Mileage Tax

Ten years ago, the liberals in Annapolis passed the first increase in the gas tax in more than two decades.  Not just a single tax increase, but Governor O’Malley and the liberal leadership pushed an annual gas tax increase tied to inflation.

This guaranteed that when families were hurting the worst in the future under rising inflation, Maryland would add more taxes to an already strapped budget.

In 2013, the state gas tax was $.27 per gallon.  On July 1st of this year, the tax was increased to $.47 per gallon with the automatic increases.  That’s a 74 percent increase in the Maryland gas tax without a single vote by legislators in Annapolis.

Shockingly, Governor Moore agreed with Republicans that the gas tax should be revisited and irritated members of his own party by calling for an end to the automatic increases because it disproportionately affects working families.  We were thrilled to hear the Democratic Governor finally singing our tune, but we doubt he will deliver on that promise. Governor Moore and his allies also said 100% of the new car sales in Maryland by 2035 must be electric vehicles.  Obviously, these electric cars will not be paying a gas tax.

Proponents of the 100 percent electric vehicle policy, which we do not support, have created a huge problem going forward for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which is funded by the gas tax.

They cannot, in good conscience, raise gas taxes more.  Maryland already pays the 5th highest gas taxes in the country!

But how will they get all those electric vehicles that are paying zero gas taxes to contribute to the roads they drive on?

A bill will certainly be passed next year to put an annual tax on electric vehicles so they do pay something for the roads and highways. But that won’t solve the transportation funding problems. Buckle your seatbelts, pun intended; more transportation taxes are probably getting fueled up for next year’s legislative session.

We continue to fight against a proposal to tax the number of miles you drive per year. This is a massive privacy invasion. We encourage you to say NO to the liberal track and tax plan now and sign this petition found here.

Join close to 2,000 Maryland residents who have already signed the petition and help us to bring your voice to Annapolis during the upcoming legislative session to fight this potential tax.

 

 

 

Benjamin Joseph

Benjamin Joesph has covered news in Eastern Baltimore County since 2006. He started as a reporter with the original East County Times in 2006. He started East Baltco News and later Eastcountytimes.com in 2022.

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