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February 8, 2011

Baltimore Democrat joins the House tea party

Del. Curt Anderson has joined the Maryland tea party. The Baltimore Democrat, who told The Sun last night that he might run for city council president, said he agrees "100 percent" with the group's approach to holding the line on taxes and reducing the size of government.

The newly formed House of Delegates' tea party caucus, a group led by conservative Del. Mike Smigiel of the Eastern Shore, announced today that it elected Anderson vice chairman. Smigiel said he is "very pleased" to have a Democrat involved in leadership.

Other caucus officials include Del. Justin Ready and Del. Michael McDermott, new Republican House members. Del. Neil Parrott, another Republican newcomer, is drafting the mission statement for the group. Smigiel said other Democrats also have expressed interest in the caucus.

Anderson, a delegate from 1983 to 1995 and since 2003, said in an interview this afternoon that the group's "purely fiscal" focus was what attracted his interest. Smigiel and other House tea partiers said they plan to stay away from potentially divisive social issues altogether.

"Their constituency may be conservative," Anderson said, "but just as mine in Northeast Baltimore, they feel that taxes are already too high."

Anderson said he thinks Baltimore residents agree with the tea party philosophy of reducing the size of government instead of raising taxes. He said he hopes his membership in the tea party caucus will send a signal to his fellow Democrats.

"Those who are in leadership need to know that Marylanders can't afford to pay more taxes," he said. "Maybe if they hear it from the rank and file, that might color the way they consider the budget."

Anderson said he plans to vote against any hike in the gasoline tax. A proposal recently introduced by the Senate majority leader calls for a 10-cent increase. But Anderson said he "probably" would vote for higher alcohol taxes, saying they haven't been raised in decades and "don't affect the scope of people" that the gas tax does.

As for how tea partying could affect a bid for city council president in heavily Democratic Baltimore, Anderson said all candidates for citywide office run on a platform of reducing property taxes.

"The government should be a helpful entity," he said, "not just something that is constantly trying to find new ways to tax citizens."

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 4:20 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Comments

This is a joke, right? I live in Anderson's district and he has lost my vote FOR GOOD!!! If he wants to grandstand about taxes, maybe he should do it in another forum. And as for his district, we all voted for O'Malley and Curt's sorry Democratic behind, so we must not be too upset about taxes! This guy has been spending too much time on Fox 45 News. He's a joke.

Wow a Democrat in Maryland with some sack.
Kudos to Anderson.
MOM's tax and spend ways are destroying the middle class in Maryland.

Does not Mr. Anderson understand that the Tea Party represents, in many people's minds, ignorance and self-interest? I know it's not a state issue, but the Tea Party has remained silent about reducing defense spending. They have remained silent on renewing the costly Patriot Act. Mr. Smigiel introduced, last year, legislation of potentially very high cost in the name of "protecting our children" which have been proven time and again to not work, so he's basically a hypocrite. This year, he's already wasted legislature compensation by introducing HR1.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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