Monday, October 19, 2009


The Maryland Senate Republican Caucus has sent out two letters to the Governor and the state’s chief judge seeking to capitalize on the free E-ZPass issue. But the GOP’s cheap shot reeks of both myopia and hypocrisy.

The caucus website contains this letter from Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman (R-9):

October 2, 2009

Dear Governor O’Malley:

I am enclosing a letter sent to Senate and House Members from Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Speaker Michael Busch dated September 29, 2009 regarding non-revenue E-ZPass accounts. The presiding officers have decided to terminate the non-revenue E-ZPass program for the legislative branch.

According to an article in Thursday’s Baltimore Sun, about 15,000 of these non-revenue E-ZPass accounts exist for government employees, including the executive and judicial branches. Does the executive branch also have plans to terminate the non-revenue program?


Allan H. Kittleman
Senate Minority Leader
Kittleman sent an identical letter to Chief Judge Robert M. Bell.

Let’s remember exactly what the free E-ZPass story was about: a minor, but unjustified and annoying, perk for politicians. Let’s also remember who has them besides state legislators. The Maryland Transportation Authority told us that recipients include police officers, fire fighters, ambulance drivers and highway maintenance employees. What reasonable person would suggest that an ambulance driver responding to an emergency call should have to stop at a toll booth on the way there? That seems to be exactly what Senator Kittleman is suggesting.

And the Senator conveniently omits the fact that we caught fifteen Republicans with free E-ZPasses, including one member of the GOP Caucus (Senator J. Lowell Stoltzfus) and House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell. This is truly a perk without a party, and any attempt by Republicans to grandstand on the issue is drenched in the oozing muck of hypocrisy.

If the Republicans really want to get serious, they should make a list of the remaining perks for legislators, give them all up and challenge the Democrats to do the same. Failing that, they should stand down and save the drivel for next year.