Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Power to Tax, Power to Destroy?

Today's edition of The Sun reported that Comptroller (formerly Governor, formerly Mayor) Schaefer has asked the Maryland General Assembly to broaden the powers given to his office to initiate and conduct criminal investigations.

The bill, HB 86, was favorably reported out of committee in the House of Delegates. I am not going to comment on the specific merits of the proposal at this point in order to allow myself some time for reflection. However, it has been clear for a good while that the enforcement mechanisms at the Comptroller's office are woefully underfunded. The principal question in my mind is whether additional funds would yield greater returns if they were spent on audit and civil collection efforts.

The status of HB 86 and a link to the text of the bill can be found by clicking here.

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