As reported by MarylandReporter.com, six Senators have come together to support a package of bills that would generate new revenues to offset some of the reductions made in Governor O’Malley’s budget. The plan, called Maryland First, is being supported by Senators Jamie Raskin, Paul Pinsky, Delores Kelley, Karen Montgomery, James Rosapepe, and Brian Frosh.
In a joint statement, the six senators detailed their Maryland First plan. They propose to:
- Raise the gasoline tax by 12 cents per gallon, for $360 million in new revenue. The proceeds would go to public transit and local roads
- Raise the alcohol tax by 10 cents per drink, for $209 million.
- Raise the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, for $114 million.
- Close the combined reporting loophole used by big, out-of-state corporations to avoid paying state taxes. This would bring in nothing in fiscal year 2012, but $75 million in fiscal year 2013.
- Continue the 6.25% tax rate on annual incomes of more than $1 million, for $70 million.
- Make changes in the tax administration regarding compliance and other reforms involving out-of-state sellers, prepaid phone cards and vendor discounts, for $74 million.
In the budget process, Pinsky said that “the legislature can cut or remove budget cuts.” The senators’ statement spelled out where they want O’Malley to put the $827 million that would be generated by the plan in his FY 2012 budget. They are:
- $140 million to restore cuts in education and local government.
- $100 million to restore cuts and expand investment in health care.
- $227 million to reduce the state’s unfunded pension and retiree health liability “without breaking the state’s promise to its public servants.”
- $360 million for transit; $100 million for local governments, and $260 million for state projects.