This article first appeared here in the Capital Gazette.
“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”
– Adlai Stevenson
Last week, County Executive Steuart Pittman climbed up on the stump of Anne Arundel County’s economy, after cutting it down, to say, “Let’s get back to work!” Pittman’s admonishment for us to “get back to work” was stunning in its hypocrisy. Not only because Pittman hasn’t yet brought all county employees back to work, but also because he’s actively opposed the “limited government” views he claims to support.
Let’s get back to reality and take a look at how Pittman’s talk fails to match his walk.
Pittman’s call for us to, “get back to work” when key county officials aren’t even showing up for work, is beyond arrogant. Government exists to serve us, and that can’t always be done from home. Home and business building projects have been bottlenecked by the Planning and Zoning Department’s refusal to meet and discuss planning, zoning, and construction issues. That’s costing small businesses money, workers jobs, and hurting our economy, not to mention driving up the cost of affordable housing.
As your county executive, I will require county employees to report for work, to serve your needs, not tell you to “get back to work,” while your tax dollars go to county employees getting paid to sit at home.
Pittman’s talk, that he, ”shares the conviction that government regulation is a tool to be deployed only when significant public benefit is certain,” doesn’t match his walk. Pittman’s executive orders exceeded Gov. Larry Hogan’s and were more harmful to our businesses and workers. His executive order shutting down restaurants would’ve cost 65,000 jobs. Fortunately, it was blocked by a judge who called it, “arbitrary and capricious, with no basis in science.” As your county executive, I will do all that is necessary, but only what is necessary, to enforce our laws and protect businesses and jobs.
Pittman’s talk of, “set politics aside,” fails to match his walk. Pittman politicized our school reopening policy. Bowing to political pressure from the teacher’s union, the Pittman administration blocked public school students from returning to class a year ago. Meanwhile, private and parochial school students safely and successfully returned to class in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Pittman’s support for the political science of the teacher’s union, over the medical science of the CDC, cost 80,000 Anne Arundel County children a year of classroom instruction, and adversely impacted the ability of their parents to work. It’s astonishing that Pittman now preaches about the importance of education to workforce development after undermining our children’s education and their parent’s ability to work. As your county executive, I will put the education of our children, and the needs of their parents first, because our schools exists to serve them, not a political agenda.
Over the next year, Pittman will climb up on his redwood stump and try to convince you not to believe your lying eyes. But it isn’t your eyes that are lying to you:
- Pittman said he would ”govern within the tax cap,” then raised property, income, and rain taxes.
- Pittman said he would be frugal but increased county spending by an unsustainable 16%.
- Pittman said he wants a “limited role for government,” but also wants to progressively “raise taxes at every level of government,” as part of his COVID-19 recovery program.
- Pittman’s pushing for a higher tax on home sales and higher income taxes.
Let’s get back to reality. Steuart Pittman has a far-left, big-government, tax-and-spend agenda that doesn’t serve you, but dictates to you. I’m a fiscal conservative who believes you deserve to keep more of your paycheck, and that businesses, not government, create jobs. I believe government exists to serve you, not rule over you. Because it’s your money. Because it’s your government. Because it’s your freedom.
Herb McMillan is a Republican candidate for county executive. A Naval Academy graduate and Navy pilot, he represented Annapolis for 12 years in the House of Delegates.