Augustine Commission Faces Difficult Task in Examining Tax Structure

An article in the Daily Record (subscription required) indicates that the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission has a difficult task ahead as it begins its work to examine the State’s tax structure. The Commission, otherwise known as the Augustine Commission after its chair, former Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer Norm Augustine, has been charged this interim with examining the State’s business tax and incentive structure to improve Maryland’s competitiveness.

As described by the article, some members, including Mr. Augustine, hope to identify “low hanging fruit” that can be changed to improve the state’s tax structure. One member, former St. Mary’s Delegate John Bohanan, commented that local governments are part of the problem because the state provides aid to local governments in ways that other states do not. However, the bulk of this aid is provided for K-12 education.

Senator Edward Kasemeyer, Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and a Commission member, commented that the group needs to determine where it can provide the biggest impact and place the emphasis there. He further indicated that there would not be broad sweeping changes to tax categories.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Commission convened last week to examine the state’s tax structure, revenue estimating practices, and budget process. The Commission will continue to hold meetings over the next several months looking more closely at business taxes and incentives and best practices. A final report is due in December.

Meeting Schedule