No one dislikes the Maryland state government more than I do; and the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Rodrick’s is Maryland’s poster child for the smug, sanctimonious liberal journalist. That said, Rodrick’s response to the current discussion of secession by five western Maryland counties is well worth reading. Rodrick lays out just some of the potential costs to Western Marylanders if they actually secede from the Once Free State.
Here on Delmarva we’ve entertained similar discussions in the past, although not as seriously as the folks west of the Baltimore-DC corridor seem to be. We want our gas tax money back (as do the folks in Allegheny, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties). We want the jackboot of Annapolis off of our collective necks (ditto for the Western Maryland 5). In my home of Wicomico County we resent the state telling us what our local property tax rate will be and their effective assassination of our sacred revenue cap. Personally, I would love to see the Eastern Shore become its own state or possibly merge with Delaware and Virginia’s two Eastern Shore counties (Accomack and Northampton).
There’s just one little problem … how many Eastern Shore residents (or Western Maryland taxpayers) are willing to pay the bill that would be due. Do you think the voters of Worcester County would be willing to reimburse Annapolis for the cost of beach replenishment or the expansion of US 113? What do you think the response would be if Wicomico residents were told that they had to reimburse Maryland for the cost of the by-pass around Salisbury and Salisbury University? God forbid that we actually paid the full freight for the costs of our schools. What would be the response from folks in Somerset if they had to pay Maryland back for UMES or ECI? What about the Shore’s community colleges and state parks?
Does anyone actually believe that the good folks of Queen Anne’s or Kent would voluntarily pony up to help us pay those costs? It reminds me of the many problems faced by the Confederacy when it was formed.
Things like secession sound great in the abstract. Personally, I think that secession by both Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore would probably be a good thing. It’s just important that people have a serious discussion with their eyes wide open.
Note: I know the graphic doesn’t show Carroll as shaded, but it was the best we could do.