They're not sure how or how deeply, but two of the state's top lawmakers predicted yesterday that the state's income taxes would be cut next year.
Appearing before a conservative group of business leaders, both Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Sen. John Cade, the chamber's top ranking Republican, predicted a tax cut was likely during the three-month session of the General Assembly that begins in January.
"Income tax reduction is a pressing objective. We are poised at the point of not saying 'whether' but 'how much and when,' " said Mr. Cade, of Anne Arundel County, the minority leader and a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who narrowly won office after a surprisingly strong challenge from a candidate promising steep income tax cuts, has said he favors an income tax rate reduction of 6 percent to 10 percent, Mr. Cade said. While its gas, property and corporate income taxes are below average, Maryland's personal income tax rates are among the highest in the nation.
Mr. Cade said he favors phasing in a 10 percent reduction in the rate over the next three years, which would take the current tax rate from 5 percent to 4.5 percent.
He predicted the debate would center on such a rate cut or increasing tax credit exemptions.
Mr. Miller, a Prince George's County Democrat, said: "This year there will be additional tax cuts, what kind I don't know. Probably some income taxes."
The lawmakers spoke at a meeting of the Maryland Business for Responsive Government held at Baltimore's Centre Club.