Tag Archives: tax cuts

Friedson’s Tax Cuts Come Back to Bite Him

Adam Pagnucco wrote a lengthy post about how Councilmember Andrew Friedson (D-1) is upset that the County Executive is proposing single-tracking the Purple Line to accommodate the Capital Crescent Trail in the other tunnel. It is indeed less ideal.

Except that Friedson is now reaping the results of his own actions. Earlier this year, Friedson vehemently supported legislation sponsored by Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-AL) to provide corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks for developments on Metro properties.

As County Executive Marc Elrich explained in his veto message, the property tax subsidies proposed for Grosvenor-Strathmore alone cost the county over $100 million in revenue. And that’s just one project and the start of the giveaway bonanza the Council insisted upon when it overrode Elrich’s veto.

Moreover, this is likely the first step, as ideas for providing similar subsidies on private property around Metro have been bandied about by both councilmembers and the Planning Board. Yet the Council seems much happier contemplating additions than subtractions to the budget.

The Council has also been busy reducing impact tax fees that go directly into the capital budget as part of its “no developer left behind during a pandemic” program. They may call it social justice but it sure looks like a giveaway to connected, wealthy interests known for generous campaign contributions.

It’s too bad that Friedson wasn’t around during the days of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Post Office. Its members had two core beliefs: (1) stamp prices should never rise, and (2) the wages of postal workers should always go up.

I sympathize with Friedson’s desire for a two-track Purple Line and a separate tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail. I just wish someone touted so often as a financial wizard would pay greater attention to the budgetary impact of his desire to engage in tax giveaways to developers on the Council’s other priorities.


Trump-Ryan Tax Plan Screws Marylanders, Especially in Anne Arundel, HoCo & MoCo

We only know so much about the Republican tax cut plan. As now seems to be the Republican way from healthcare to widening I-495, I-270 and the BW Parkway, plans have only gauzy outlines. However, the little presented is enough to know that tax “reform” would screw many Marylanders. Big Time.

The central idea of tax reform is that the elimination of various special interest tax breaks allows for a reduction in rates without reducing revenue. This plan reduces income tax rates, primarily at the top end, along with corporate tax rates but does virtually nothing to attack special interest tax breaks, so it will result in a massive reduction in revenue. It’s a yuge tax cut for the wealthy being presented in the guise of tax reform.

Indeed, the only eliminated tax break is the state and local tax deduction for taxpayers that itemize. This change is transparently designed to screw blue states that provide high levels of services and thus have higher state and local taxes, as this chart from the Wall St. Journal reveals:

Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery Counties will be among the biggest losers. Upper-middle class households that earn more than $100,000 are more likely to itemize because the current tax code makes it worth the bother. In 2015, over one-half of households earned more than $110,000 in Howard, $98,000 in Montgomery, $90,000 in Anne Arundel, and $75,000 in Maryland as a whole. These figures are even higher now.

As a result, Maryland, especially Anne Arundel, Howard, and Montgomery Counties, will take a big hit. Indeed, many upper-middle class taxpayers may well end up paying more in taxes under the Trump-Ryan plan than they do now because the elimination of this deduction will wipe out any gains that they would otherwise make.

There are some “good” nuggets of news in Trump-Ryan tax plan. While the administration is employing its standard tactic of the big lie by saying that this plan will not help the wealthy, including Donald Trump. Since Donald Trump said “believe me” when making this case, we know from experience that it’s extra big lie.

And indeed, it is. If you’re among the most extremely wealthy, you’ll make out very well. Trump wants to eliminate the estate tax, so that he—oops Freudian slip—other very wealthy people can leave massive money to their heirs tax free. Annually, only around 5000 estates are subject to the estate tax in any year but Maryland probably has more than its fair share as the most affluent state in the country.

Other prominent features in the proposal will also aid the wealthy enormously, especially the reduction in the top income tax bracket and pass-through S-corporations. The graph presented at the top of this post, developed by the Tax Policy Center, shows just how much the top 1%, and especially the top 0.1%, will gain.


Who Supports the Senate’s Tax Cut for the Wealthy? Bueller? Bueller?

The Maryland Senate passed a cut in marginal tax rates that will only benefit the top 11.1% of Maryland taxpayers. It’s a tax cut that literally gives the wealthy enough to buy a nice iPad but leaves the middle class with barely enough to buy a meal for one at Chipotle (but they only get even that if they have exemptions).

The bill has crossed over to the House of Delegates. Lots of people and groups testified against the bill at the hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, including:

Maryland CASH Campaign
Maryland Center on Economic Policy
Maryland Nonprofits
Health Care for the Homeless
Maryland State Education Association
Advocates of Children and Youth
Maryland Alliance for the Poor
League of Women Voters of Maryland
MD/DC State Council of SEIU
Maryland Working Families

The following groups also signed on to a letter protesting holding the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) hostage to a tax cut for high earners:

Advocates for Children and Youth
AFSCME Council 3
Baltimore CASH Campaign
Baltimore County Arts Guild
Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.
CAFÉ Montgomery
CASA of Baltimore County
Council for Bile Acid Deficiency Diseases
Fuel Fund of Maryland
Health Care for the Homeless
Job Opportunities Task Force
Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services
League of Women Voters of Maryland
Maryland CASH Campaign
Maryland Center on Economic Policy
Maryland Disability Law Center
Maryland Education Coalition
Maryland Nonprofits
Maryland PTA
Maryland State Education Association
Maryland Working Families
NAMI Maryland
National Association of Social Workers, Maryland Chapter
Pain Connection-Chronic Pain Outreach Center, Inc.
Public Justice Center
Progressive Maryland
SEIU Maryland Council
The Way Out Program

So who testified on the bill at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing?

Not Governor Larry Hogan. His office didn’t even bother to send anyone to support the tax cut for the wealthy.

In fact, no one testified in favor of the tax cut. Maybe the House should take that as a hint and shelve it.