December 11, 2011

O’Malley spars over millionaires’ tax flight

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Gov. Martin O'Malley

Gov. Martin O'Malley

Gov. Martin O’Malley challenged a construction executive on Friday to radio debate on increasing taxes on millionaires.

It all started when Whiting-Turner Construction Company Executive Vice President Daniel White spoke up about recent laws and regulations that made Maryland less friendly to business. White had been invited to share the businessman’s perspective on the issue at a symposium O’Malley hosted on job creation.

White touched on a subject near and dear to O’Malley’s heart: the “millionaires’ tax.” Enacted in 2008, this taxed income that was greater than $1 million at a higher rate – 6.25%, as opposed to 5.5%. The tax expired at the end of 2010.

White said that the state’s policymakers should be careful to avoid “regrettable unintended consequences” from new ideas.

“With the millionaire’s tax, we lost thousands of millionaires,” White said.

Later on in the symposium, O’Malley emphatically disagreed. While there were fewer people reporting income over $1 million after the tax – there were roughly 7,000 millionaires in 2007, and nearly 5,000 in 2008 – O’Malley and other proponents argue that fewer people made more than $1 million during the recession.

“The facts I’ve seen, the reports I’ve reviewed, indicates there’s no correlation between the changes we put in place for the progressive income tax and number of millionaires,” O’Malley said.

“I won’t deny that people with a lot of money can afford to live wherever they want. But we had that problem 20 years ago, 40 years ago,” he finished.

Maryland’s millionaires’ tax has been cited both as a harmless way that states can bring in more revenue and as an attack on the rich, which forces them to move to another state.

White did not join in the discussion at the end of the symposium much – it was mainly O’Malley and his staff reinforcing the governor’s position. O’Malley did challenge White to a half-hour radio debate on the issue. White was noncommittal about whether he’d be willing to argue his position with the governor before a broadcast audience.

Later on Friday afternoon, the governor’s blog had a post by Chief of Staff Matt Gallagher about the symposium. The vast majority of the blog outlines O’Malley’s position on the millionaire’s tax, complete with charts and graphs.

–Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com

  • PARTY

    MOM A SEASONED BULL…..DID NOT THE ABOVE ARTICLE JUST SAY THERE ARE 2000 FEWER MILLIONAIRES….THAN JUST A FEW YEARS AGO…MAYBE NOT BECAUSE OF THE MILLIONAIRE TAX…………..BUT ALL THE ADDED TAXES IN MARYLAND THAT BURDEN THE SMALL BUSINESS COMM., THE POOR AND THE MIDDLE CLASS……ADD MORE REASON NOT  TO BUY A CAR….ETC.  THE SUN PAPERS TAX IS NOW 9 CENTS ALONE  FOR THE DAILY PAPER….THE FLUSH TAX IS GOING TO BE INCREASED….THOSE  TWO TAXES KIND OF GO TOGETHER ALONG WITH MOM…..WE COULD ONLY WISH FOR  XMAS.

    DONT FORGET THE FEES, REMEMBER THATS NOT A TAX JUST A BURDEN.

    LET HIM DEBATE SOMEONE WHO BULL CRAPS FOR A LIVING .

  • Anonymous

    When are we going to hear from responsible adults? The nation is $15 trillion plus in debt! The State is over $1 Billion in debt. The prospects for relief or real improvement under the constraints of our current AdministrationS is bleak!

    We need to “Cut Spending Now!!!” Cut all discretionary spending until both the federal and this state’s budgets are Legitimately in balance. No more spending more than we take in! No more destructive taxation and fees! No more non-vital spending until we are substantially paying off our indebtedness! In Maryland this is particularly vital, in that we have been profligately spending, based in substantial part on feeding on largess being funneled down from the current Administration. Hopefully, the Nation (if not Maryland) will come to its senses in 2012 and elect responsible adults who will wholly cut off that spigot! Maryland should be prepared. More TAXATIONs are toxic. Big Brother can’t solve local and individuals problems with costly interventions. “Investments” should now rely on the wisdom of the private sector investors. “Uncles” at the federal and State levels show too much propensity to invest in “Solyndra” opportunities with tax moneys.

    Start discussions on opportunities to CUT spending and follow through with implementing them in the 2012 session, before its too late!

  • Neil Bergsman

    Governor O’Malley is unequivocally right on this. The number of millionaires went down every where – states that raides taxes, lowered taxes and left them the same. Maryland has one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the country and one of the highest incomes in the country. Taxes are not a very important determinant of where people want to live – even for people who have plenty of choices.

    • tld62

      WRONG!

    • chris

      Neil
      I do not know what you do for a living but it is obvious that it is not located near the MD/DE state line.

    • Anonymous

      Unequivocally right? You need to put down that Kool-Aide you are slurping! Taxes (income, property, sales & other various taxes plus fees) make a difference in where the majority of us so called 99% live. Jumping on the millionaires/billionaires bashing wagon doesn’t work anymore. Neither do the pronouncements about MD residents having high incomes. High incomes don’t translate into MD being a tax friendly state. Face facts, any rational MD resident who would like to keep some the $$ in their own pockets instead of giving it to Annapolis to be wasted are leaving ASAP.

  • Anonymous

    Millionaires don’t matter. Middle income taxpayers don’t matter to the O’Malley administration either except when enough of us abandon MD because of the high TAXES & FEES that we are being charged on a daily basis. But then again, he has bigger fish to fry on the national scene when he is finished here. If the politics gig doesn’t pan out Martin, maybe you can be a backup musician for Lady Gaga.

  • Kathy

    I just cannot believe that an extra tax of 3/4 of 1 % on income over $1,000,000 has caused a mass exodus of millionaires from the state.  We are talking–for example– an extra $30,000 on personal income of $5M (which amount is deductible from federal income taxes anyway, and so amounts to more like $20,000.)  That may seem a lot to me and other middle income people, but it is pocket change to someone making $5M A YEAR.  I agree that we need to cut spending, but multi-millionaires  should pay a little more to the state in which they are making that money.  It is the selfishness of people who have so much anyway, and the “mine, mine, mine” attitude of our society that has led to much of our financial problems.  

    • Apcoleman

      What about the 47% of Americans who pay no taxes at all?  How much is their fair share?  If you worked your tail off to have something nice and you had a friend who was lazy and unmotivated but wanted what you earned how would you feel? 

  • Whcampbell

    What do we need the extra tax revenue for?  The Governor would like to increase many taxes and fees so “we can jump start the economy” with public works projects.  Not because they are needed, but it provides construction jobs to union workers whose unions contribute to
    maryland’s Democrat incumbents.  I do not doubt that some millionaires have (or will) move fron Maryland if their taxes are increased.  As a soon to be retired resident I am also considering moving because of our States high tax burden.  I am not a millionaire.  As far as Mr. White’s reluctance to ebate Governor O’Malley, who can blame him.  Never get into a peeing contest with a skunk!

  • Anonymous

    I am at the other end of the spectrum from the “wealthy.” I do work providing services. I do pay taxes and fees. Last year Maryland’s “progressive policies,” including its confiscations, for the State “revenue stream,” caused some of my clients to loose their jobs, some to loose their homes, some to move away and most to restrict their discretionary spending. My income was halved. This year it has been halved again.

    First: Humans need an incentive to do things. Capitalism is one form of incentivization. One puts forth effort to gain rewards. Earning an income with which to purchase goods and services, provide for one’s family and do positive things is one form of incentive.

    Two: Humans (be they in the private sector or to a lesser extent – using private sector financing (ie taxes/fees) – the public sector) who undertake formation and operation of businesses, companies, operations with their moneys provide goods, services and jobs that make our world a better place.

    While one might portray some of  the super wealthy as “greedy,’ and others as distributing their wealth in ways that damage our nation (for socialist advancements for example) … most buy services, goods, expand or create new businesses, and invest to others benefits. Some use their wealth to donate moneys for medical facilities, research and services and other beneficial ends. I would suggest there are only a few (if any) who hoard their moneys in a room or vault to run their fingers over it.

    Recent disclosures of National and State Government spending discloses an infuriating trends toward waste, fraud, chrony capitalism, unaffordable discretionary spending, profligate purchases and “investment” in opportunities scorned by private venture capital. I have an expanding list of this Government glut. If it were shown that our moneys were being frugally and wisely spent, that we were spending only that that was being reasonably appropriated from the taxpayers, at either the National or State level, I might be more sympathetic to a limited need for more money for governance. I am not seeing that!

    Greater “revenues” for governance will only lead to more profligate spending. We need to tighten our government’s belt and “legitimately” balance our budgets before allowing them any more “fattening deserts.”

  • Phil727ck

    O’Malley blames the recession for the lower number of millionaires.  How convenient.  O’Malley can spin it anyway he wants but, although the recession was not predicted, the exodus following the 2007 special session was.     

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