May 15, 2012

Senate passes budget, tax hikes; video captures demonstrators for and against

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Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin opposes tax hikes in floor debate.

Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin opposes tax hikes in floor debate.

The Maryland Senate passed a final budget and over $300 million in tax hikes shortly after noon Tuesday. The House starts debate on the bill Tuesday afternoon.

The final vote on the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act was 33-13, with two Democrats, Sen. Roy Dyson, St. Mary’s, and Brian Frosh, Montgomery, joining 11 Republicans voting against the plan that makes some reductions in spending formulas and shifts half of teacher pension costs to county governments. Republican Sen. George Edwards, Garrett, voted for the bill.

The final vote on the State and Local Revenue and Financing Act was 27-19. Seven Democrats joined all dozen Republicans opposing the tax hikes that raise income tax rates 5 to 15% on people making more than $100,000 a year and increase taxes on commercial mortgages. The seven Democrats were: Dyson; John Astle, Anne Arundel; James Brochin, Baltimore County; James Mathias, Lower Shore; Anthony Muse, Prince George’s; Norman Stone and Bobby Zirkin, both of Baltimore County.

A video shot throughout the day on Monday shows the demonstrators opposed to the tax hikes and spending increases, and a rally by public employee unions supporting the bills.

The video was produced by Emaun Kashfipour.