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Letter


Reject Unfair and Damaging Tax Increases!
An Open Letter to the Maryland General Assembly:

March 12, 2012
By Brent Mead

Dear Legislator:

On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU) 7,100 members in Maryland, I urge you to vote against Senate Bill 523. NTU staunchly opposes any effort to raise taxes on overburdened Maryland residents. In 2008, Maryland passed the largest tax increase in state history. Now, a scant four years later, Old Line State taxpayers are facing yet another devastating tax increase proposal because their legislators are unable or unwilling to restrain expenditures.

In its attempt to raise more than half a billion dollars in additional taxes, this legislation would swipe more money from virtually every Marylander’s pocket. The largest share of the tax hikes comes in the form of heavier income taxes across virtually all brackets. This would reduce the size of every worker’s paycheck, compounding the financial difficulties many are facing during this uncertain and uneven economic recovery.

In addition to its misguided approach toward income taxes, SB 523 would impose an “affiliate nexus” tax scheme to force out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes based on tenuous connections with in-state advertisers. These plans have failed in every state where they’ve been enacted because retailers are forced to sever their connections rather than face the onerous task of complying with a tax code in a state where they have no physical presence. Maryland wisely rejected such plans in 2009 and 2010 and should do the same this year.

Finally, this legislation attempts to enact harsh and regressive tax increases on tobacco products. It would make Maryland’s tax on cigars among the highest in the entire nation, once again resorting to punitive policy toward a politically convenient target. Smokers already stream across the borders to lower-tax Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware to purchase their products and this bill would only exacerbate that problem.

Instead of once again raising taxes, Maryland’s elected officials should begin the long-overdue work of reducing spending to levels the people can afford. The state already has the fifth-highest per-capita state and local tax burden in the country and a business tax climate that ranks a dismal 42nd out of 50. This cries out for reforming the state’s spending habits, not for saddling its taxpayers with ever-heavier financial demands from government. That process must begin by rejecting SB 523.

      Sincerely,

      Brent Mead
      State Government Affairs Manager