Maryland lawmakers forgo cuts to solve budget deficit, focusing on tax hikes

  • Share
  • Bookmark to Delicious
  • Bookmark to StumbleUpon
  • 1 comment

At the beginning of Maryland’s legislative session that opened on Wednesday, state lawmakers made it clear that they are looking to local officials to urge them to raise taxes to help close its $1.6 billion budget deficit, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.

Another option, they would welcome, might be for county officials to more aggressively increase local property, income taxes and fees.

The state’s Democratic leaders are looking at several options, including raising state income taxes on the wealthy, and increases to the state’s gasoline and alcohol taxes. The lawmakers are asking county officials to call for the rejection of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget, due out next week, and come up with ideas about areas in which to impose new or higher taxes.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch predicted that local officials will be distressed when they see “significant pain at the local level,” that will likely be imposed by O’Malley’s proposed budget.

“If there is some kind of reaction from county executives and city governments to come to Annapolis and say, ‘This is not palatable for us. We have to look at some alternative,’” Busch said,  “I think many members of the General Assembly and the governor will get together and find if there is some way to increase revenues.”

Prince George County Executive Rushern Baker, a Democrat, also was on board for raising taxes. “I’m planning to tell our delegation to support any measure to put revenue in the state’s coffers,” he said. Rushern also said he would work to help pass increases in gas and sin taxes.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has been a vocal supporter of higher gasoline taxes for years, sponsoring failed legislation in 2007 to raise it by over 50 percent. The current rate, 23.5 cents per gallon, has been in effect for almost twenty years. Miller said he’s looking to the governor this time to make the tax hike happen.

Miller also noted that many counties had not been assessing the maximum local taxes permitted by law, and in some cases, counties were lowering property taxes. Of Maryland’s 23 counties, 5 reduced property taxes this year, and 7 reduced them last year.

Miller also criticized county officials with not being more creative to collect taxes, saying that some do not levy parking, amusement or hotel taxes.

The Baltimore Sun

  • expose this
  • Share
  • Bookmark to Delicious
  • Bookmark to StumbleUpon
  • 1 comment
Comment (1)
  1. Lloyd Barron says:

    If the State would stop funding programs and other State funded give a ways that do not offer any type of return for the investimate would help tremendously. The State of Maryland needs to stop all subsidies to everyonne that holds out their hands. And yes this also means the ones that continue to hold vottes for re-election.

    Take projects of the board that are funded, but not shovel ready. Give up your wish list. The same hols true for all the Counties of the State. Get rid of the dead wood in the State Gov and in County Gov. I think you would see the ink go from red to black rather quickly.

Comment on this Article:

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.