Smacking the Poor Around

The 424th (!) session of the Maryland General Assembly began this week, and the entire focus is on how to squeeze taxpayers more. There’s a $1.7 billion deficit that didn’t seem to bother anyone seven months ago, but now must be addressed.

The legislative hopper is filled with bills to raise taxes. The governor is proposing HB2 which would, among other things, jack up the sales tax by 20%, increase the types of transactions which are subject to sales and excise taxes, and raise corporate income taxes by 20%. The “Transportation Investment Act” would raise gasoline taxes by a half-cent per gallon.

What do all these have in common? They are painfully regressive, meaning that the state gains revenues off the backs of the poor. The lower your income, the worse you are hit by sales taxes. The poor are ravished more by gasoline price increases, too. But the poor are less politically powerful, and so they make an easier target for the governor and the legislative pickpockets.

Montgomery County is considered to bear a higher burden of tax increases than any other jurisdiction in the state. Although the county has about 18% of the state’s population, it is estimated that MoCo would pay about 80% of the increased taxes. Nevertheless, the county’s legislative representatives are piling on.

Montgomery Delegate Craig Rice, in the General Assembly for less than a year, is apparently learning the ropes: you can’t tax Montgomery County too much. He has proposed House bill 11, which would add taxes to forty-three services, including cell phone service, cable television, car repairs, emergency road service, haircuts, tax preparation (irony?), gyms, car washes, shoe repair, and photography.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, Maryland, The War on the Poor

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