Tax Increases or No Tax Increases

Barbara Pash, of, reports that tax increases may be on the table to help close the fiscal 2012 budget deficit.

A range of tax increases and budget cuts are on the table next year as Maryland legislators struggle to get a handle on a $1.7 billion structural deficit, Democratic legislative leaders told a business conference Friday.

Taxes on alcohol, gasoline, corporate income and sales face possible increases during the 2011 General Assembly.

“We need to figure out a way to close that deficit,” Sen. Richard Madaleno said last Friday at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Policy Conference, held in National Harbor, Md.

House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell, who spoke earlier in the day, offers a different approach.

“There are big challenges ahead of us. We’ve got a mountain to climb.” O’Donnell noted that the federal government’s stimulus money “is gone” and that “all our priorities [like education and transportation] are at risk because we haven’t been prudent.”

O’Donnell said that he expects the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission, which is scheduled to hold a public meeting next week, “to look into a wide range of revenue enhancements,” including increasing the sales tax. He said he and his Republican colleagues will not support these tax increases.

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