What Are You Doing with Your $5.99?

mcdonalds-Quarter-Pounder-with-CheeseAfter buying this McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese ($4.78) with your tax cut, you likely won’t have enough left for fries or a soda.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget is remarkable for how little it appears to do, at least at first glance. For a governor who trumpeted his desire to cut taxes, the tax cuts are unexciting:

The proposal would also deliver $36 million in fee and tax reductions this year, partly by speeding up tax breaks already approved by the legislature and partly by making new cuts. . . .

Hogan has described his tax plan as “modest.” Legislative analysts suggest it would reduce revenues by more than $100 million a year when fully implemented.

Modest is indeed the word. This year’s tax cut amounts to $5.99 per Maryland resident based on last year’s population estimates. I suppose it’s a little more exciting at $16.02 per household.

Budget Director David Brinkley said that “Taxpayers would see ‘more money in their pockets.'” Just don’t try to take the family to McDonalds on the savings.

More commendably in uncertain times, the Governor is setting aside much of the projected surplus for savings:

The operating budget leaves about $450 million unspent, even after the state stashes more than 6 percent of its surplus in its ‘Rainy Day Fund.’ Bond agencies recommend saving 5 percent.

On the other hand, the Governor’s budget: (1) raises college tuition by 2%–nearly three times last year’s estimated 0.7% rate of inflation, (2) once again plans foolishly to take public money and give it to private schools, and (3) does not yet include any money for Baltimore to knock down vacant homes.