Tag: taxes

O’Malley Told Not to Sign Anything Until Budget Balanced

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Gov. Martin O'Malley

After the General Assembly’s embarrassing ending to the legislative session last week left a budget shortfall of $70 million — and that’s AFTER $500 million in spending cuts promised by the “doomsday budget” the state defaulted to when the session ended — Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget secretary, Eloise Foster, has advised him to refrain from signing any bill that costs the state money until the budget is balanced.

And without a special session of the legislature to revise the budget, the state’s budget office will have to hunt for additional places to cut spending, and the governor will bring those cuts before the three-member Board of Public Works for approval.

Perhaps this whole lame situation will encourage the governor and Maryland lawmakers to call a special session, put a little more time on the clock, roll up their sleeves and get the budget straight.

General Assembly Adjourns, Passes Doomsday Budget Without Tax Hikes

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Courtesy of Citybizlist – The members of the General Assembly passed a $35.6 billion balanced budget as they were required to do by midnight Monday. But without the income tax hike they failed to enact, it is the doomsday budget that contains $512 million in additional cuts, much of it to education.

A clearly angry Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters the General Assembly failed to protect the priorities that state voters expected them to do. But in a brief press conference, he did not announce he would call a special session, as the Senate and House leaders expect him to do.

“There was 90 days to work all this out,” O’Malley said as he walked away.

O’Malley, Busch blame Miller and gaming

O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch both blamed Senate President Mike Miller’s insistence on a gaming measure for Prince George’s County for holding up action. But others, including delegates and senators on the conference committee, said the hard philosophical positions on both sides played a role.

This Week in Research: More Republicans Avoid Taxes; 2.5 Billion Years of Haziness

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It’s almost April, which means that people around the country are pulling out their checkbooks and giving money to the government, or finding ways to avoid doing so. (And by “people,” we mean “corporations” — same difference, right?) Unsurprisingly, some groups are better at tax avoidance than others. More surprisingly, perhaps, is who does the most skillful job at finding ways around paying taxes. Firms with Republican CEOs “show a significantly higher level of tax avoidance than do companies with CEOs of no obvious political preference,” according to new research co-authored by Johns Hopkins business professor Xian Sun.

“I Know You’re a Job Killer, but What Am I?”: The State of Political Debate in Annapolis

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The Senate is casting their final votes today on a bunch of budget bills. If they all go through, most Marylanders will see a .25% state tax increase. Anyone making over $500,000 would see another quarter of a cent taken out of every dollar earned. The tax increase is expected to raise $30 million for improvements to schools.

Unsurprisingly, some politicians are decrying the tax increase (and particularly the piggyback tax for high earners) as a job killer, while others passionately defend the importance of education. But of course, it’s not really about choosing between jobs and education, it’s about a tax increase of a particular size versus a spending project of a particular size to a particular purpose. What we really need to argue the issue are data about the real effect of raising taxes on high earners by x amount paired with an assessment of the state of our school buildings. Unfortunately, what passes for debate is mostly just sloganeering. In the most ideologically divisive arguments our politicians end up resembling dolls that recite partisan talking points when you pull the string.

How much money do you think we could save the taxpayer if we replaced them with actual dolls? No matter the bill being debated Mr. T could say, “I pity the fool!” Then Pee Wee Herman could say, “I know you are, but what am I?”

What’s Left to Tax in Maryland?

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Lawmakers in Annapolis are proposing a whole range of new services to subject to Maryland’s 6 percent sales tax, ranging from haircuts, car washes and exterminators to business consulting, tax preparation services, employment agencies and dating services.

The legislation — House Bill 1051, proposed to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Sheila E. Hixson and Del. James W. Gilchrist, both of Montgomery county — proposes extending the state’s sales tax to 29 additional services.

The legislation brings to mind the quote about tax reform from former U.S. Sen. Russell B. Long: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree!” When it comes to this bill, just about every Marylander is standing behind the tree.

Maryland’s Chamber of Commerce has already declared its opposition to the legislation, and offers suggestions on how to oppose the bill at the hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 6, at 1 p.m. before the House Ways and Means Committee in Annapolis.

The list of services proposed to be added to the sales tax includes such a wide range as stenographers, commercial photography, tanning services, gyms, massages, docking services, public locker or storage rental, dieting services, direct mail advertising, public relations, real property management, sign painting, interior decorating, notary public and shop window decorating. Check out House Bill 1051 to read the full list.

If you have an opinion on the tax proposal, it’s always a good idea to share your opinion directly with your elected representatives. Find yours here.

Apparently still smarting from how the tech community successfully fought back against the “tech tax” that was imposed in 2007 — and repealed in 2008 — lawmakers have not included computer services on this list. But some in the tech community fear that the bill’s broad phrase of “any business consulting service” could apply to at least some of their work, too.

Read more at CenterMaryland

 

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