Where did millionaires go?
After reading Matthew Weinstein's rebuttal ("Millionaires ready to contribute," May 15) to Laura Smitherman's article ("Top payers fade away," May 14), I have to conclude that he has missed the point entirely. To argue whether taxpayers who earn more than $1 million are vacating Maryland is a sidebar to the real issue. The fact is, we are losing revenue because of a flawed economic policy.
Raising income taxes on any group of citizens at the onset of a recession, and basing revenue projections off of nonrecession years, is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. During these trying times, taxing working families is the least effective way to collect revenue. Gov. Martin O'Malley and his policy aides should know that as production shrinks, so does income. Basing budgets off collections from a dwindling population is simply bad policy and bad management.
As high-income earners become a vanishing commodity, either by changing residence or, as Mr. Weinstein believes, a souring economy, Marylanders can expect further fall-offs in revenue. The solution is simple: During this recession, citizens should demand that our leaders stop over-taxing working families and start trimming the state budget like Marylanders are trimming theirs.
David Schwartz, Annapolis
The writer is state director of Americans for Prosperity-Maryland
The following are comments on the millionaires tax from the blog www.baltimoresun.com/secondopinion:
Until August (or October), when the returns are filed, all this discussion is little more than conjecture. To the degree that income is reduced for tax purposes, do not confuse that with being reduced in actuality. There are all manner of ways to shift compensation to other vehicles.
You are missing another point.
Individuals such as you are discussing are most likely running a small business, paying other state taxes and are higher contributors to nonprofits, which also rely on tax dollars. So by cutting a millionaire's "extra" spending you have cut into the tax base at three different points, which is known all too well as that "crazy" trickle-down theory.
Just ask the nonprofits how their funds have dried up over the last five years compared to other states and with lower tax brackets.
Smith serves county well
In response to the letter "Smith shouldn't move up to state government," (May 15), I want to dispute what the writer poses about our county executive. I am also a resident of Timonium and have been for most of my life. Never have the roads been in unreasonable condition for long around this area, and York and Padonia Roads are in great shape.
It would be a privilege for the citizens of Maryland to have this gentleman continue his professional services on behalf of our state.
Beth Wolf, Timonium