Around Maryland, Opinion, Politics

NOW YOU KNOW: Massive tax increase proposed for all Marylanders

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The following is an editorial piece from Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Ryan Nawrocki.

As the 2024 legislative session in Annapolis nears closer to an end, legislators are voting on a multitude of bills every day before the last day of the legislative session, known as “Sine Die,” where bills are either passed into law by midnight or they die.

However, there is only one bill that the legislative session is constitutionally mandated to pass before that day, and that is a balanced budget bill. This year, the budget bill poses unique struggles in the legislature as law makers are divided on the over $1.3 billion dollar tax and fee increases placed into the House’s bill by the liberal leadership.

Maryland liberals in the legislature are enthusiastic to raise taxes on hard working- and middle-class Marylanders to bail out their reckless spending habits. First, the liberal leadership in Annapolis proposed HB 1515, which would add nearly every service you can think of to be subject to the sales tax to the tune of $4 billion a year. After receiving extreme backlash from the public on HB 1515, liberal leadership substituted that bill with a $1.3 billion dollar tax package, including a cornucopia of taxes and fees that would hurt Maryland families and seniors.

This tax increase has not passed the Senate yet and hopefully they hold firm on not increasing any taxes on working Marylanders. Even a small handful of Democrats are now having second thoughts about raising taxes on Marylanders because of the detrimental consequence it can have on their hopes of beating former Republican Governor Larry Hogan in the upcoming 2024 senate race.

Hard working Marylanders who have been decimated by the impact of runaway inflation, understand that raising taxes will hurt their wallets even more. According to the U.S. House Budget Committee, a family of four is paying $15,133 per year, or $1,261 per month, more to purchase the same goods and services today than they did in January 2021. A recent Gonzales poll revealed that 99% of Marylanders believe they pay enough or too much in taxes. So why is the liberal leadership so adamant on raising taxes when they know that this is not only highly unpopular but a terrible idea?

Governor Hogan left our state in a healthy fiscal condition two years ago. There was a record $5 billion surplus, and Comptroller Franchot even estimated the surplus to be $7 billion. Of course, that was mainly from the COVID money the federal government sent to Maryland. And we always remember that federal funds are our tax dollars. Many had urged Governor Hogan to send that money back to taxpayers instead of leaving it for the next administration. Predictably, Governor Wes Moore is blowing through that surplus.

During the 2022 campaign, Governor Moore promised to not raise taxes. However, this year’s budget does include an extreme amount of tax increases and fees and as former Governor O’Malley said “a fee is a tax.” Governor Moore’s administration has already raised more than 250 administrative fees that don’t need legislators’ approval to pass and now he is eager to come to a compromise and pass a budget bill. Will Governor Moore keep his promise to not raise taxes on Marylanders? Or will he sign a budget bill that includes tax increases if it makes it to his desk?

The House’s budget is a bad bill which is why even the liberal Senate leadership are concerned about passing it because they know how much this bill would hurt the wallets of Marylanders. During a time when Marylanders are struggling with rising costs, grocery store prices, and skyrocketing gas prices which are annually increased through a gas tax increase each July, Maryland liberals are so tone deaf that they are doing everything they can to get more money from your pocket.

We will stand strong and not give into any tax increases on Marylanders. The state cannot tax its way out of this problem. Hopefully, Governor Moore will keep his promise not to raise taxes and reject any tax increases. We urge him to join the 99% of Marylanders who say NO to more taxes!

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