Senate looking for alternative tax hikes to avoid ‘doomsday’ budget, Miller says


Senate President Mike Miller

Senate leaders are trying to find $500 million in tax hikes as alternatives to those proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to avoid a “doomsday” budget with $1 billion in spending cuts, Senate President Mike Miller told reporters Tuesday.

“We’re looking at a different set of revenues than the governor has proposed,” Miller said.

The state has a billion-dollar structural deficit that must be filled.

O’Malley is seeking to limit exemptions and deductions for taxpayers making over $100,000, but Miller said there has been “a lot of pushback” on limiting the mortgage interest deduction.

Realtors are running radio ads asking citizens to call their legislators opposing the plan that would only allow 80% of the federal itemized deductions to be listed on tax returns for couples making over $150,000 and for single taxpayer making $100,000.

Miller did not discuss what taxes might be considered, but Senate Budget and Tax Chairman Ed Kasemeyer last year said the sales tax should be extended to more services. Among other options, budget committee members have been privately discussing expanding the number of services eligible for the sales tax, possibly combined with a roll back of the 6% rate.

Miller said, “You have the choice of revenues or cuts.” A “cuts only” budget might include reduction maintenance of effort funding for schools, a shift of teacher pension costs to the counties, and reductions in other programs.

“I hope that isn’t the case,” Miller said. “I hope we find 24 [senators] of good will and courage,” the majority needed to pass a tax increase.

“It’s going to be profiles in courage or profiles in hell,” Miller said. The choice is “either doomsday or continue to let the state make progress.”

Developmentally disable rally against budget cuts

One area that could face cuts is funding for developmental disabilities programs. Around 500 people turned out on Tuesday to rally outside the State House and lobby their legislators against that possibilty.

Joined by several Democratic and Republican legislators, rally goers vowed to keep fighting for necessary support.

Describing the issue as one centered around wages, Virginia Knowlton of the Maryland Disability Law Center said that many with disabilities simply want to work and be a part of their community.

–Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. guysnite1

    The GOV stated we all have to share the PAIN.  BUT that only applies to us in other counties than Baltimore and Baltimore City.  They get all the moey they want whenever no questions asked. It also applies only to us  whom work. Why not get state employees and state pensioners to share a little too;  or welfare receipents or public housing .   How am I an MILLIONAIRE with $100,000 annual Salery I guess Warren Buffett can loan me a Million or two.

  2. Dick Froderman

    Here is a news flash. … why don’t we try maintaining the budget at the previous years level….or maybe a 2% increase for inflation.  Why does Comrade O’Malley feel the need to increase the budget by a B I L L I O N dollars when the economy is in the tank.  Is he REALLY that clueless?

  3. Bob Higginbotham

    All Miller is doing is trying to raise different taxes. He is just as big a non compos mentis as O’Malley and just as big a jerk. Here is an original thought, at least for most democrats. Let’s find where the budget can be reduced. i’ll bet any resonible person, especially one that lives on a budget, can find an amazing number of places in the O’Malley budget or GA budget that can be reduced or eliminated. Before anyone in the state government take another breath they should really try using what’s left of their grey matter and look at reducing spending and, in the same light, look at reducing taxes. Save $1.6 billion by not coddling illegal aliens. Cut at least 10% by eliminating all the excess staf and ‘administrators’. the GA should try thinking about the money as their own.  

  4. Cwh82wvu

    OK, so here we go again with these stinking Demokrat lawmakers.  They can’t control their spending, so in order to get the tax hikes that they want (and I don’t care what you want to call it, if the government adds 1 penny to the cost of anything, it’s a tax), here they go again with threatening schools, teachers and ‘reductions in other programs’.  You can read that reduction comment as they’re coming after the cops and firefighters next, and we’ll also see them wanting to get rid of the State Police helicopters before this is all over.

    How many billions has NOmalley and his cronies spent on protecting illegal aliens?  I’m sorry folks, but how much have they spent on fighting over the gay marriage bill?  That darned bill should have been postponed until they fixed their spending problems, not our ‘lack of enough taxes’, but the Demokrats had to pander to the gay vote again.

    16 months, and I’m out of here.  I’m tired of fighting these commies.

  5. Gome17

    Get rid of the part time and Temporary employees. You’ll save Millions

    • Dale McNamee

       Also, let’s not forget the “non-essential” employees who don’t have to go to work if we have snow & ice storms ?

  6. Anonymous

    MD taxpayers not asking the legislature to plan for Doomsday, just STOP increasing the budget year after year while telling us you’re drastically gutting the budget & want MORE $$.  Do the math! The 2007 special session raising the sales tax 25% was SUPPOSED to be the answer.  Yet the legislature INCREASED budgetary spending.

    Those developmentally disabled protesters should thank Vinny DeMarco for settling for a pittance of the new alcohol taxes going the help them & claiming victory. The quid pro quo for legislative loyalty?  More $$  funneled into selective school districts.  It’s usually ignored by these supporters that the agency charged with doling out  the money “found” $25 Million NOT spent on services  & returned the $$ to the general fund. The cause for not spending dedicated state funds for this specific program? An auditing issue.

    Some MD taxpayers may be willing to swallow Miller’s propaganda & keep forking over higher taxes & fees to help the ” cause du jour”.  What is desperately  needed is transparency in the state budget before we fork over another dime.

  7. Brichbourg

    Why is it so hard for these politicians to show a little intestinal fortitude and cut spending. Why is it always easier to increase taxes than it is to cut spending? Is it because the tax “payers” do not raise the same hell that the tax “takers” do whenever there is the slightest threat to their entitlements. Well, our legislators better suck it up and start looking for cuts because more taxes only makes Md less competitive and put the state in a deeper hole for the next round of whining.

  8. party

    the one percent in maryland will get richer, the poorest will still get help and there will be no middle class.
    moms friends who donate will be much better off ,for eg the new state office building complex…the newly connected energy co from chicago….land and state of other corrupt officials.

    how many people really get to read these adnausem complaints that go no where ,if you have any money left just move, besides your prob to old to learn the new second language of america …..oh did we vote for that major change. Make spanish the ist language and tie it to an appropiations bill.

    if you think 2012 is scary wait till after election 2013 its going to be worse……..maryland will think erlichs single flush tax is childs play.

    moms plan is age old,  if you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it……and the rest of us are scraed into silence…..that is leading to a Greece. or worse.

    Stay positive  and pray.

    • Gome17

      maryland will think erlichs single flush tax is childs play.
      It already is and was childs play

  9. Anonymous

    Taxes, taxes, taxes!  Why not cuts, cuts, cuts!  Same old crap, just a different day!  

    • Gome17

      We don’t need mandate Auto Insurance. No need for many enforcers whose job is to investigate and send out fines.

  10. Tax me for breathing

    How can the legislature justify taking more when people on average are making less and working longer hours? The part-time legislators gets full-time pay by most standards, and they have no idea how the rest of us live, if they did at one point, they forgot.

    I’m struggling to pay more mortgage, car payments, high gas and food prices, more in tolls.

     I would not be surprised if O’Malley and Miller called for a “breathing tax.” That’s right, a tax to breathe air. The would justify it by saying it is needed for off shore wind projects that will ultimately make our air cleaner. “We all have to pitch in for clean air,” will be the slogan to promote the tax. Next we will have to pay a “fart tax,” because farting is bad for the environment and fuels global warming. But then a new industry will popup that will allow us to buy and sell “fart credits”and you can by them from the state who will then create a designated fund to reduce farts.But that won’t last because the Miller and O’Malley will then transfer the money out of the designated “fart fund” to balance the budget.  

    Take light breaths folks, and hold your gas!

  11. Dale McNamee

    From the article : ” Miller said, “You have the choice of revenues or cuts.” A “cuts only”
    budget might include reduction maintenance of effort funding for
    schools, a shift of teacher pension costs to the counties, and
    reductions in other programs.”

    And, ” One area that could face cuts is funding for developmental disabilities
    programs. Around 500 people turned out on Tuesday to rally outside the
    State House and lobby their legislators against that possibilty.”All I can say is : ” Poor Babies, Boo,hoo,hoo ! ” As to Sen. Miller’s assertion…It’s time that the fat,over-fed, pig that is called state government goes on a diet, or gets butchered…Why was a structural deficit created in the first place ? Why was spending beyond the tax revenue approved ? All those years, decades of Federal largesse fueled the dreams, and now, the largesse is drying up and you look to me !As a tax payer, I CAN’T AFFORD YOU STATE GOVERNMENT, OR YOUR DREAMS ! ( i.e. off-shore wind turbines, needless rail projects (( red & purple lines)), etc, ). I’ve had to cut back due to the 15 % loss in the purchasing power of the dollar and the subsequent rise in prices. No eating out or going to the movies, etc., I limit my driving to necessity only, I’ll avoid taking toll roads as much as I can as well. I’m trying to see if I can fill my gas tank once a month ( I currently fill it twice a month ).I lived through the crash of the steel mill based economy in Pittsburgh and these actions were what I did to survive…I never thought that I would have to use them again !As for the developmental disabilities programs…Didn’t they get $ 33 million from the Feds ? And, why don’t their supporters “pony up” the money needed, they have money to organize protests and lobby the Legislature…Why not support the programs themselves ?


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