Md. must cut spending

November 18, 2009

In his op-ed "Maryland must consider tax increases," Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute Director Neil Bergsman says Maryland has no other choice but to raise taxes. Mr. Bergsman is two years too late; the Maryland General Assembly voted in a 2007 special session to raise and expand the state's sales tax, create a new income tax bracket, raise the state's corporate tax, establish new taxes on property transfers, increase the state tobacco tax, expand the amusement tax and permit state-taxed slot machines. The new taxes were intended to raise an extra $1.4 billion each year for state government. But the new money has not kept up with Annapolis' spending. Only by cutting spending and growing the tax base can Maryland's budget problem be solved.

Compared to neighboring states, Maryland has very high marginal tax rates. This discourages investment and job creation. Raising these tax rates even higher will only impede our ability to recover from the current economic recession. Given that Maryland spends more on a per-capita basis than most of its neighbors, there is ample room to trim the fat from the state budget. There would be significant savings for the state if its per-capita spending were in line with our neighbors.

No, Maryland does not need to consider tax increases. Further penalizing businesses and individual taxpayers is the road to reduced economic growth, fewer jobs and a lower standard of living. Maryland needs to consider reducing the high spending and high taxes that are so popular in Annapolis.Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

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