Requiem for the Taxpayer Protection Initiative

2 minute read

The Taxpayer Protection Initiative is dead. I’ll defer to HoCo Rising (and Trevor) for in-depth analysis, particularly from the viewpoint of fiscal conservatives who think the Howard County Republican party badly misplayed this. I’ve written more about the TPI than I ever meant to or wanted to, but I can’t help but devote a few words to its passing.

Maybe I missed something, but I’m really surprised at the lack of apparent attention that was paid to making a serious case for the TPI: why it was needed, what its effects would be, and (most important) how various objections to the TPI could be addressed. I just looked again at three of the main pro-TPI pages that show up in a Google search, the TPI Facebook page, Allan Kittleman’s site, and the Howard County Republican Club site. None of them have any extended arguments in favor of the TPI. (Kittleman’s site does have a TPI FAQ, but it’s about how to sign the petition; it doesn’t address any questions that people might have about the TPI itself.) It’s as if they just rang the anti-tax bell and expected the electorate to salivate at the prospect.

I’m especially surprised by the failure of TPI advocates to be aggressive and get out their message early, when they could have had a hope of framing the conversation in a way favorable to their cause. I remember when I first went online to look for more information about the Taxpayer Protection Initiative, and couldn’t find anything other than the original Baltimore Sun story; there was absolutely nothing on the local Republican party sites I looked at. If the TPI was the key to saving Howard County you’d think they’d have been a tad more diligent about getting the word out.

I’m just a nobody blogger, and I have no pretensions that any of the three thousand or so words I wrote against the TPI had any effect on anybody. However I do think it’s telling that if you do a Google search for taxpayer protection initiative my anti-TPI blog posts are the second and third results, and the local pro-TPI sites don’t show up until positions six, seven, and eight. (The first result is for a California state initiative.) If you instead search for howard county taxpayer protection initiative then the TPI Facebook page does show up as the top result, but I’m right there at positions three and four, again ahead of Allan Kittleman and the Howard County Republican Club. Again, not exactly a sign of a movement doing a good job of putting its arguments out there and rebutting those of its opponents.

I could probably think of some more things to say about the TPI and what it says about Howard County Republicans and Howard County politics in general, but to be honest I’m sick of the whole subject. Throw the dirt on its grave, I’m skipping the wake.