Pica plans bill to widen sales tax Income tax of rich would also be raised

January 11, 1991|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON — ANNAPOLIS -- Sen. John A. Pica Jr., D-Baltimore, said yesterday that he would submit legislation to expand Maryland's sales tax and raise income tax rates for the rich in order to finance more than $400 million in state aid to the city of Baltimore and for public school systems across the state.

The legislation is adapted from the recent Linowes tax commission's recommendations.

Senator Pica said he had discussed his proposals with Gov. William Donald Schaefer and expected to have support from the administration. The governor has not indicated whether he will introduce legislation modeled after the recent findings of the tax commission that was chaired by Montgomery county lawyer R. Robert Linowes.

Mr. Pica said his proposal would not raise the sales tax from 5 percent to 5.5 percent as the Linowes commission recommends but would broaden the services and merchandise covered by the sales tax. Another proposal would alter the state's personal income tax to weigh it more heavily toward the rich and reduce taxes for anyone earning less than $40,000.

Both measures are taken from recommendations released last month by the Linowes commission -- the Maryland Commission on State Taxes and Tax Structure appointed by Governor Schaefer to review the state's tax system.

"My goal is to bring money home to Baltimore for education and to relieve the tax burden on city residents," Senator Pica said. "The session's opened, and no one else has initiated legislation to achieve that goal. This isn't going to wait."

Under Senator Pica's plan, most of the new revenue would be used for education, with the largest share going to the poorest subdivisions, an objective of the Linowes commission. The remainder would go directly to Baltimore and would ultimately help to reduce the city's property tax rate, he said.

Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, who shepherds the administration's legislative program, acknowledged yesterday that he had talked to Senator Pica about the proposals. But he said that the administration had not decided what, if any, Linowes legislation to seek during the 1991 legislative session.

Mr. Steinberg noted that the "bill that John Pica is putting in is not the full Linowes report." However, he added, the Pica proposals could be a "starting point" for discussions.

Senator Pica said he opposed two of the commission's recommendations and would not include them in his proposal: the 2 percent personal property tax on motor vehicles and boats and an increase from 7 percent to 7.5 percent in the corporate tax.

Legislative leaders have said they are skeptical that any tax increases will be approved in a year of an apparent economic recession.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.