Sid Saab for Delegate
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Sid Saab's Issue Priorities:

 

  1. Health Exchange
  2. Gas Tax
  3. Rain Tax
  4. Flush tax
  5. State Tax Policy
  6. Common Core
  7. 2nd Amendment
  8. Minimum Wage

 

 

Sid Saab's Position on the Maryland Health Exchange

The Maryland Health Exchange has been a total disaster in its implementation since October 1, 2013.  Over 70,000 Marylanders lost their individually purchased health insurance virtually overnight as the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) prohibited health insurance companies from selling health insurance that did not meet its definition of health insurance.

 

Marylanders who were very happy with their health care coverage and their family doctor suddenly found themselves without either.  Many of these are neighbors, friends, relatives, or perhaps yourself who have health issues that could be proven to be catastrophic if their coverage was cancelled.

 

 

 

The Affordable Health Care Act is anything but “affordable.”

We haven’t yet seen what will happen to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders once the second phase of the ACA goes into effect.  This November following the General Election, businesses are commanded to provide coverage to all their employees that work over 30 hours full-time in a week.

 

As a small business owner, I can tell you what will happen when this part of the law is carried out.  Small businesses cannot stay in business if they must provide the expensive coverage offered on the Maryland Health Exchange to all their full-time employees.  Owners will be forced to make the tough choice to either make all their employees into part-time workers to avoid paying for expensive coverage or go out of business.  There is no other alternative a large or a small business owner can make.  This “healthcare” program is a job destroyer.

 

The $170 million Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website crashed the first day it went live.  The website has continued to this day to be plagued with problems with frozen accounts, incorrect information, error messages, and failure to transmit enrollment data.  The entire program has proved to be such a mess that Governor O’Malley had to take drastic measures and bailout the exchange by passing an Emergency Health Benefit Insurance bill to the tune of $5 to $10 million.  Our Health Exchange was to be the ideal model for the rest of the nation.  Maryland has been the model for how government run health care can be managed incompetently.  Instead of the predicted 150,000 to enroll in the exchange, only a little over 61,322 people have signed up.  And the majority of those have chosen to sign up for Medicaid, not the Health Exchange. 

 

 

As your representative in Annapolis, I will:

  • Submit an amendment to put a price cap of no more than $400 a month per family on health insurance coverage offered through the Maryland Health Exchange.
  • Craft a bill that allows patients the option to only sign up for catastrophic coverage if they wish and also have the ability to pick and choose beyond catastrophic (ex: adult dental versus pediatric dental) instead of the “one-size-fits-all” expensive approach.
  • Give doctors the final word authorization in what healthcare remedy should be provided and not the insurance companies.
  • Allow individuals and companies the right to purchase health care coverage outside the state if the purchaser feels the coverage is more affordable and/or better coverage.
  • Offer businesses tax relief incentives to cover their full-time employees.
  • Make premiums fully tax deductible if a person purchases a full wellness (not catastrophic only) healthcare coverage. .

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Sid Saab on Gas Tax

 

Governor O'Malley increased the gas tax 4 cents this year from 23.5 cents to 27 cents per gallon in the first of several periodic increases scheduled to be phased incrementally by 2016. Diesel and biodiesel fuel tax increased from 24.75 cents to 27.75 cents per gallon. The overall tax will almost double increase to 45.5 cents per gallon when fully implemented.

 

Lawmakers also made a shameless move to attach the tax to the systemic increased rate of inflation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  This tax will not be reduced if the CPI ever decreases or stays steady.  Previously, the gas tax was based on a fixed flat gasoline tax.  This means that all future gas tax increases will occur automatically when the rate of CPI goes up.  This dishonestly detaches politicians from the deed of their past to pass robotically recurring tax increases.  This unfairly disenfranchises voters from having any input to any future rate increases and their final say on the subject.

 

To make matters worse, the U. S. Congress is debating over the “Marketplace Fairness Act” that will authorize states to tax Internet sales.  If this law passes, then Maryland motorists will only see an increase of up to 3% as expectations of new revenues from an Internet Tax will offset any need for an additional increase in the Gas Tax.  However, if the law doesn’t pass, then Maryland may see the gas tax increase up to 5%.

 

The Governor made a bold announcement that the monies raised from this burdening tax will bring in $800 million that will exclusively go toward the formation of a “new” Transportation Fund and will have the potential to create as many as 27,000 new jobs.

 

While we need funds to repair roads and bridges throughout the state, I question the formation of a “new” Transportation Fund.  The old Transportation Fund worked for decades very well until the current Governor and the Democratically controlled General Assembly purged millions of dollars out of the old Transportation Fund to pay for special projects not allocated in past budgets.

 

So if the Governor and Legislature promise not to touch this “new and improved” Transportation Fund (as they say they will do in the future), what is to stop them ignoring their promise in the future and raid the “new” fund?  What assurances do we as hard-working taxpayers have that they will keep their word this time and in future administrations?

 

The problem is we don’t have any assurances.

 

That is why if you elect me as your representative I will:

  • Put forward a bill that makes any attempt by future administrations and legislatures to plunder the Transportation Fund coffers a state crime that is punishable by a heavy fine and/or jail sentence.
  • Build a coalition of like-minded legislators to authorize a complete audit of the Transportation Fund and all other projects that past Transportation Funds were directed.
  • Present an amendment to the new Gas Tax law that repeals the portion that connects all future gas tax increases scheduled to rise with the CPI.
  • Equally designate all funding throughout the entire state and based solely on tremendous need rather than a few projects allotted in mostly urban areas.
  • Find waste in other programs and redirect those funds to the “new” Transportation Fund to allow the gas tax to decrease during hard economic times as we are now experiencing.

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Sid Saab on the Rain Tax

Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax...

 

The Storm Water Management Watershed and Restoration Program or what it is well known, as “the Rain Tax” is a program that is based on a theory and has literally made Maryland the laughing stock of the entire nation. 

 

In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Maryland to raise $14.8 billion in funds to combat storm water runoff on “impervious surfaces” (hard) surfaces only.  This order was based on its findings that Marylanders must reduce its nitrogen levels by 22% and its phosphorus levels by 15%.  Maryland then passed the buck down to its 9 largest counties and largest city (Anne Arundel, Baltimore County and City, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s) and ordered them to solicit the money.  Each county then was allowed to determine how much to tax their citizens.  “The amount of impervious surface a property owner has will be calculated by square footage using satellite and geographical information system technology,” reports Watchdog Wire.  The “Rain Tax” went into effect July 1, 2013.

Here is the crux of this program:

 

The “theory” behind this tax is that hard surfaces collect pollutants and chemicals.  If the rain falls on the ground and then runs into the river that water will not be taxed.  However, if the rain lands on an “impervious surface” such as a roof, wood deck, sidewalk, driveway, road, or parking lot then it must be taxed.

 

Think about what is being conveyed in this theory; the EPA is saying that it’s okay if those chemicals and pollutants are absorbed into the ground, but it’s not okay for those chemicals and pollutants to be piped through storm drains into the Chesapeake.

 

This “theory” is flawed and this “Rain Tax” does nothing to prevent pollutants from running into the Chesapeake Bay.  However, the one thing this program is designed to do is to be a tax collection system to pay for pet projects that elected officials would never ask their constituents to fund because politicians would never get approval from the voters.

 

Unfortunately, the reality of this program is to only directly fund educational programs for the general public in what they can do on their own private property to control storm water runoff.  The Maryland Environmental Agency has publicly stated that the money will go toward, “building and maintaining stream and wetland restoration projects” and also “monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of storm water management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces.”  In other words, money will be funneled to pay for the salaries of many more bureaucrats to administer this program.

 

My position on the Chesapeake Bay is that we quit talking about saving the bay, but actually take real concrete actions to clean it up if we are truly serious.  I favor:

  • Work in tandem with special groups such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and have them (through their generous donor and volunteer base) build a special water filtration system along our coastline.
  • Offer income tax credits to residents and businesses that build biofilters and bioswales to trap pollutants and silt before they run into our storm drains.
  • Offer income tax relief to residents and businesses that use new and innovative substances that are fantastic in controlling storm water runoff at its source such as:
  • Porous substances designed to trap and filter solids and pollutants such as pervious asphalts, porous concrete, and plastic grids.
  • Better maintenance of storm water drainage systems outflow into a filtration system before runoff enters the bay.
  • More effort to resupply our oyster population and other bottom feeder fish that are indigenous to the bay.

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Sid Saab on the Flush Tax

 

This short video sums up very well the frustration of overtaxed Marylanders:

 

 

In July 2012 most Marylanders saw a 100% tax increase in their Flush tax bills. This measure was supposedly taken because the O’Malley administration claimed the original flush tax estimation of $750 million to upgrade all Maryland sewage treatment plants was grossly miscalculated and the correct estimate is now $1.4 billion.

 

Yet, the taxes that goes into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund to pay for sewage treatment facility upgrades has been purged of over $290 million just since 2010. In fact, the bond credit rating agency, Moody’s, downgraded Maryland’s bonds that were backed by flush tax money because of these numerous raids on the Fund.

 

The reality is that the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund has become another money pot that isn’t protected from big spending administrations. Every dime of that raided taxpayer money was transferred to the General Fund to balance the budget.

 

As your elected official I will pledge to:

  • Produce a bill that will carry out an audit of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund to assure that all fund monies go toward the upgrade of only the 67 sewage treatment plants earmarked.
  • Write an amendment that protects the fund from any future raid to pay for other projects to balance the budget.
  • Insist that septic tank users (and those rural neighborhoods and businesses that have communal tanks) be waived the requirement to pay into the fund when they do not contribute to the cause of bay pollution.
  • To include in my audit bill a provision that says once all treatment plants are in compliance with federal regulations, then the Flush tax will be terminated.

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The Economy and Maryland State Tax Policy

 

As soon as Governor O’Malley took the oath of office in 2007, he and the Democrat majority-led General Assembly immediately passed an income tax package that was the largest increase of taxes in the state’s long history.  Taxes on the wealthy increased from 4.75 % to 6.25% in 2008.  This tax increase targeted small business owners and over 3,000 Maryland millionaires who were living in the state at the time.

 

The end result of these outrageous tax abuses came only 12 months later when it was revealed that 1,000 millionaires had fled the state, those millionaires who remained filed income taxes in low tax states where they owned second homes.  Also a multitude of small businesses were going out of business and leaving the state.  A tax policy that was hyped to bring $106 million into the state backfired and instead created a loss to the state of $1 billion in revenues.

 

Clearly the tax policies of the Democratic Party are not working for Marylanders!

 

Since the beginning of 2008, the situation has gotten much worse and direr as Marylanders at all economic levels have been driven from their homes and livelihoods to states that are less expensive to live.  Yes, General Assembly Democrats recognize and agree with Republicans that the economy is very bad in the state.  Yet, time and time again they use the same old outdated and unsuccessful methods to try to stimulate the economy by increasing government spending and then later over-tax state residents to pay for those excessive spending habits.   They do not understand basic economics and how destructive their actions are to our local economies.  Simply put – the Democrats are incapable of changing their worn out fiscal ideas and methods for the betterment of the state and our communities.

 

Residents vote with their feet and a lot of Marylanders have had their say since the mass migration out of the state since O’Malley took office in 2007.  Between 2007 and 2012, the U. S. Census showed that 22,774 Marylanders have left our state. 

 

Any tax increase on the state level is counter-productive.  Over the last decade, states without income taxes or very low income taxes have had job growth of 18.2.  Our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country at 6.1% with very little job growth in the past 7 years.  In fact, Maryland has lost over 25,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007.  Mainstay jobs at General Motors in Baltimore, Solo Cup factory in Owings Mills, and the steel mill at Sparrows Point have all gone away in the past 10 years.  Excessive taxation killed these once thriving businesses and ended up hurting middle class families.  If the private sector is over-taxed and cannot afford to expand their businesses, the trade union members lose their jobs.  On the contrary, had lower income taxes been demanded of these companies, they would have been in a position to innovate and enhance labor productivity. 

 

I favor a tax code that is based on tax rates as close to a job growth-maximizing rate as opposed to the existing revenue-maximizing rate.

If elected to represent you in Annapolis, I will:

 

  • Refuse to vote to raise any new taxes on individuals and businesses.
  • Go through the State budget line by line; question and validate the need for all expenditures asked by the Governor and all members of the General Assembly.
  • Construct a bill to eliminate wasteful spending that is not necessary for our state and or that impedes the government’s ability to continue essential services.
  • Conduct myself in all fiscal matters of government as I would in my own personal businesses – make every penny accountable and important to spend.

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Common Core Curriculum

 

Common Core is a top-down “one-size-fits-all” education curriculum across the board for every child.  It is bad for our teachers and it is bad for our students.

 

The Common Core standards have never been tested.  Anywhere. 

 

Two private D.C. trade groups, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (Superintendents’ club) own the standards and have copyrighted them. They alone control the standards. The states do not; nor do the voters in the states.  On the state level, we can alter the standards by only 15%, according to federal mandates and the writings of the private trade groups that created the standards.  Yet, there is no written amendment process outlined for the states to have a voice in their own standards.  Governor O’Malley and our legislature have relinquished control of our student’s education to public-private partnerships that cannot be un-elected and that are not subject to the transparency laws of elected offices.

 

Negative consequences of these curriculum standards are:

 

  • Common Core forces all teachers to conform their lesson plan to cater to one large standardized test.  It reduces the ability of teachers to create and innovate to meet the needs of their individual students.
  • Common Core removes all instructional flexibility despite the possibility that their curriculum may not be what works best for a particular class.  Teachers are not allowed the freedom to distinguish themselves and find new ways to connect with their students.
  • Students should be taught to strive and to outperform one another in an attempt to attend better schools and to receive better jobs.  Likewise, teachers, as in every other profession, should be encouraged to outperform one another because their increased professional excellence benefits all students.
  • Under the Common Core guise of education, the government will begin to data-mine children from kindergarten until the time they enter the workforce.  This data, which attempts to determine learning patterns based on the students’ (and their family’s) religion, moral attitudes, and political affiliations, will be sold to a private company, and returned back to the government.  Parents are prohibited from opting-out of this data collection.

 

As your next elected representative in Annapolis, I pledge to:

 

  • Restore our education standards and bring back the curriculum we had before Common Core was instituted in our schools.
  • Write a bill to ban Common Core standards until appropriate experimental testing and review has been rendered to establish if this is a better educational reform for our students and teachers.
  • Explore other teaching methods and insist that a testing program be implemented to find the best curriculum for our public schools.
  • Remove the standard of education that a final test be the endgame that all teachers must to aspire to their students instead of teaching concepts of how to solve problems and to have students think for themselves.

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Sid Saab Position on Gun Control Abuse

 

SB-281 – The Firearms Safety Act of 2013.  The title sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?  Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their homes from intruders and violent offenders.  However, the brutal reality is that this bill couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

In actuality, this new gun law that has been pushed through the Democratic Party controlled General Assembly and signed by Governor O’Malley is the complete opposite of the “promoted safety act” theme title.  SB-281 has made it easier for violent offenders to harm innocent and law-abiding citizens by preventing good people to have the ability to protect themselves and their families.

 

Statistics do not lie.  The two cities in the country that have the toughest laws against legal gun ownership, Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC, have the highest murder rate by gun violence in the nation.  Just recently, our own Columbia Mall became a murder scene because of gun violence.  Passing this abusive law against legal and responsible citizens didn’t prevent the tragedy at the mall.  Sadly, we will see much more of this gun violence now that good citizens are treated like the perpetrators against our civil society.

 

What SB-281 does to the peace-loving Marylander is abuse our 2nd Amendment rights guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights of the U S. Constitution.  The law bans the sale of 45 specific types of guns and rifles.  These rifles are referred to as “assault weapons,” but actually they only refer to cosmetic appearances of whether a rifle looks like an assault weapon, not if it functions as a true assault weapon.  Also, the law outlaws the sale of ammunition magazines with more than ten rounds.  In addition, all handgun buyers are now mandated to submit to a background check, fingerprinting, and take gun safety training classes.

 

The fingerprint requirement is the most egregious aspect of this law.  Forcing all future gun buyers to be fingerprinted gives honest citizens the impression that they are the criminals and wrongdoers by exercising their legal and constitutional right to own a legal firearm.

 

My position is very firm on this issue.  I am Pro-2nd Amendment.  I support the rights of all citizens to be able to self-protect against felonious individuals.

 

If you elect me as your Delegate, I pledge to:

 

  • Repeal SB-281.
  • Write a bill to allow for more freedom to own a legal concealed carry weapon.
  • Write a bill to strengthen and ensure every resident’s 2nd Amendment rights to self-defense.
  • Eliminate through legislation any future unconstitutional finger print requirement in an attempt to disrespect upstanding gun owners.
  • Conduct a thorough examination into our mental health policies.
  • Pass new legislation to limit gun ownership accessibility for any person with a current or recent past clinical mental health problem or who is taking prescribed medications for depression or chemical imbalances.

 

SB-281 targets the wrong people.  Any gun law should place restrictions and punishment for violations against innocent Marylanders upon the criminals in our society, not the law abiding citizens.

 

As your Delegate, I will do my job to protect the lawful and be firm and resolute in any passage of law against violent gun offenders.

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Minimum Wage Hikes

 

Since the minimum wage was created in 1938 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only times the minimum wage has gone up in this country has been during periods of economic prosperity.   Now the Maryland Democratic Party is arbitrarily championing a 40% minimum raise hike.  This standpoint is without the slightest consideration that this will be a devastating blow to our fragile state economy.

 

Minimum wage increases kill jobs and encourage companies to pass along the added cost to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

 

Every time the minimum wage goes up prices on goods and services immediately go up as well.  The end result is that no financial ground is gained for the minimum wage worker.  Another sad fact is that when the minimum wage goes up many workers must be laid off.  To stay in business during hard economic times such as these, employers must always look for ways to cut costs.  If the employer is forced to raise his or her wages, many workers will be laid off to pay the extra income increase to those allowed to stay on with the company. 

 

Our young and unskilled laborers will feel the biggest hit with this pay hike.  I can tell you as a small business owner that if I am forced to raise my wages by 40%, I will be forced to only hire better skilled workers to justify that raise in pay.

 

Only the state of the economy, market conditions, and demand for goods and services determine wages, not government intrusion into private businesses affairs.

 

If elected as your Delegate, I will repeal any law that forces the minimum pay raise to be more than 10%.

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By authority of Citizens for Saab, Sarah Saab Treasurer.