Annapolis, MD - Change Maryland, a non-partisan grassroots organization, released today a list of tax and fee increases from 2007 to 2012 that shows levies have been raised a staggering 20 times with a $2 billion annual impact to taxpayers. Ranging from the $603 million sales tax increase in 2007, to more modest measures such as the $2.5 million 2011 fee increase for vanity license plates, the list also includes off-the-books revenue collections such as last year's record toll increases imposed by the Maryland Transportation Authority.
"For years now, our elected officials have not listened to the 96% of Marylanders who oppose higher taxes," said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. "Gov. Martin O'Malley was not elected saying 'I'd like to drastically increase state spending and raise taxes on struggling Marylanders.' He ran on a false claim of fiscal responsibility, and we had the wool pulled over our eyes."
The state's budget has grown $1.2 billion a year, on average - from $28.8 billion in 2007 to $34.7 billion in 2012. While the Governor has claimed $7.5 billion in cuts during his term in office, the numbers simply don't add up. Moreover, the aftermath of the special session next week is likely to result in higher individual income taxes with which to continue government spending at levels the one-party monopoly finds politically appealing.
The Change Maryland Tax and Fee fact sheet details measures including the expired millionaire's tax and the ill-conceived computer services tax - a case study in 11th-hour legislating and a nationally-recognized embarrassment. Although one expired and the other was repealed, these two measures branded Maryland as a non-business-friendly state generating national headlines.
A May report by Chief Executive Magazine ranks Maryland the 40th best state for business. Maryland's dismal ranking is due to income-tax increases on the middle class which adversely impacts businesses, according to the magazine. The latest among a dozen such studies, there is ample evidence that Maryland's ability to create private sector jobs is threatened by a hostile tax environment.
"All Marylanders - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - suffer when the professional politicians and the special interest groups go unchecked and continue to push the same failed tax and spend policies, year after year," Hogan said.
Addressing the Governor's press conference this week to announce the special session, Hogan noted a flurry of statistics the Administration selected in attempting to justify raising the income tax.
"We increased spending more than 46 other states and O'Malley says that's not enough," Hogan said. "We are number four in total tax burden, which he must think is too low. The state's own budget analysts said our income tax is already second in the nation. O'Malley is moving Maryland forward to number one in every objective measure of taxation levels."