State News

Even Democratic Candidates Recognize the Need for Tax Reform

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“The constant taxing of Marylanders … is squeezing the middle class to a place where there’s a real recognition that we have a problem.”

Before you ask which Republican candidate, lawmaker, or conservative politico made the statement above, know that the quote belongs to none other than current Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler – a Democrat currently running to be the next governor. Yes, a Democrat gubernatorial candidate in a “blue state” recognizes the high tax burden the state places on its residents and wants to reduce tax rates.

As part of his campaign platform, Gansler has stated his desire to gradually reduce the Free State’s corporate income tax rate from 8.25 percent (ranked 15th-highest in the nation according to the Tax Foundation) to 6 percent (11th-lowest in the U.S.). According to Gansler’s figures, two out of three Marylanders are employed by small businesses, and high corporate income tax rates prohibit businesses from expanding and hiring more employees. When a Democrat currently serving as a top government official is advocating the need for tax reform within his state, perhaps it’s time to find a way to reduce the total tax burden on residents.

Given that Maryland’s current governor, Martin O’Malley, and the Democrat-controlled state legislature have enacted over $11 billion in tax increases since 2008 – $3 billion in tax increases (29 pieces of legislation) in the last 3 years – it’s time for Maryland to take a page out of Wisconsin’s or Kansas’ playbook and cut taxes. Under Governor Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin has cut taxes by over $2 billion and turned the state’s deficit into a $912 million surplus.

And Gansler isn’t the only Democrat advocating for reduced taxes in 2014.

Earlier this year, the New York state legislature, a bastion of fiscally unsound policies, cut the state’s corporate income tax – 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent – and exempted manufacturers from the tax altogether when passing the state budget in an attempt to keep businesses in the Empire State and attract businesses and corporations. Don’t think that’s significant? Well, it’s the first time New York has reduced the rate since 1968, and other states are paying attention to this drastic action.

While this is by no means an endorsement for Gansler or any other candidate (Republican or Democrat) running for public office in the state of Maryland, it is a strong endorsement for tax reform for the Mid-Atlantic state. Maryland is one of a few states that places a price on work at the local level, in addition to having a state income tax, which drives top marginal rates north of 8 percent. Additionally, the passage of the “Rain Tax” in 2013 signaled that Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers are willing to tax literally anything within the state in order to collect more revenue. Rather than continuing down the road of tax and spend, Maryland’s next governor – regardless of political party – should seek to make the Free State less regulated, less burdensome, and more free for those who call the state home.