Maryland Lawmakers Try to Bring Back Millionaire’s Tax
Democratic lawmakers in Maryland are attempting to resurrect the 2008 millionaire’s tax as legislative support wanes for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s $311 million package of tax increases.
More than two dozen Democrats are cosponsoring bills in the state Senate and House of Delegates that would increase state income taxes by 14 percent on the approximately 4,000 residents whose annual net taxable income exceeds $1 million. The bills are scheduled for hearings in the House and Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I’ve always believed that the people who are more able to pay more — millionaires and higher — should be contributing more in taxes,” said Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s County, who is cosponsoring the Senate bill with Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, D-Baltimore.
Maryland residents are familiar with the millionaire’s tax, which would generate roughly $75 million in its first year. The General Assembly implemented the same surcharge on Maryland’s top income earners in 2008 and let it expire in December 2010, following reports that it drove millionaires out of the state. Republican lawmakers, as well as some state economists, balk at the idea of bringing back the surcharge.
“The millionaire’s tax has got to be one of the dumbest things they have ever thought of proposing,” said Dee Hodges, president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association, which lobbies against new taxes. “I can’t imagine why they would try to bring this tax back.”
Some Democrats say the tax is a better alternative to O’Malley’s 2013 budget proposal, which would hit one in five Marylanders with higher taxes to help close a $1 billion budget gap.