Senate adds new tax for high earners to pay for schools

By Justin Snow

The Senate worked into the night Wednesday as they pushed through the chamber’s package of state budget bills and added a new tax for people making more than $500,000 a year, facing a litany of criticism from Republican lawmakers.

money stacksMost notably, the Senate voted 26-20 for a late amendment to a bill that would already raise the state income tax by .25% for most Marylanders. The added amendment goes a step further, raising the bill’s proposed tax rate for anyone making over $500,000 from 5.5% to 5.75% for every dollar earned. The new provision would raise an additional $30 million in new revenue for aging schools.

The additional tax hike faced fierce opposition from Republicans who slammed the amendment as a job killer and raised questions over why the state needed an additional $30 million in revenue.

“We’re making tax history here,” said Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin. “There’s no other state in the country that has this kind of tax from dollar one with a piggyback tax.”

Republicans warned of the repercussions the increased tax could have on jobs and businesses in the state, claiming that it would hurt job creators making over $500,000 a year.

Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, said the amendment was in fact a job creator, citing the correlation between good school systems and new facilities.

“We’re saying that we want to create people who can work and who can make money for our state,” Gladden said. “You need good buildings and you need new buildings [to do that].”

The proposed $35 billion budget that came out of Senate committees last week remained largely intact with the exception of a few technical amendments. The controversial shift of teacher pensions to county governments was not altered.

Republicans and some Democrats proposed a series of amendments throughout the session that would curb spending, but all were all defeated. Republicans seemed aware that they faced an uphill battle.

“I am the bug today, I am not the windshield,” quipped Pipkin.

Speaking to reporters after the chamber recessed, Senate President Mike Miller said that “a lot” of Democratic senators did not care for the adopted amendment, but wanted to move forward with the bill.

“It was a nod to the more progressive members of the caucus,” Miller added, predicting the finalized budget would be well received in the House of Delegates.

The Senate is expected to cast its final vote on the budget bills Thursday before they move to the House for their approval.

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. Dale Mcnamee

    I was never good at “new math” or “new English”… In the realms of language, words mean what they say, usually….Unless one is into “de-constructing” words as ala Noam Chomsky or are lawyers ( as many of the Legislature are  )…

    Millionaire means having $ 1,000,000 +…Not $  999,999, $ 500,000, or $ 100,000 in earnings…
    As for higher ed…Enough already ! When the the majority of state employees making $ 100,000+ per year work for the U of MD. I’d say that they’re very well funded…In fact, OVERFUNDED !

    As for the current funding,,,WHY ARE SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN SUCH DISREPAIR ?

    Where’s the AG when he’s needed ?


    This proposed tax hike will “raise the state income tax by .25% for most Marylanders.”  Really?   Most Marylanders?  Are you sure about that?  Most Marylanders are making making half a million dollars a year?   Can we see some stats please?  I find that hard to belilve.  Why do you suppose most Republicans claimed that a tax hike of .25% would be a job killer?  Scaremongering is why.  We have an unemployment problem to be sure but really guys come on 1/4 of 1%?  Really?  That’s gonna cause someone to relocate?   Are Republicans so far removed that they don’t think that $500,000 a year is A LOT of money to make.  What the hell I’d be happy with $100,000 a year, very happy.  I think the Republican’s collective reality check must have bounced! 

    • Gabriel J Michael

      “Really?   Most Marylanders?  Are you sure about that?  Most Marylanders are making making half a million dollars a year?”
      The article is referring to the fact that the bill raises income tax rates on all brackets above the $3,000 bracket by 0.25%. Since virtually everyone except kids working over the summer earns more than $3,000 AGI a year, the income tax increase will affect virtually everyone.

    • abby_adams

      The state legislature has a SPENDING problem, not a problem raising taxes. As a MD native, I do not mind paying my fair share & I’m not a millionaire, nor a thousandaire. Scaremongering is plastering “Doomsday” budgeting all over the media airwaves while they continually spend our taxes $$. As an independent, I must budget my take home pay, why can’t the Democrats in Annapolis rollback the increases on a temporary basis until the economy gets better? Heck no, raise taxes, fees, tolls & whatever other revenue scam they can think of, remember it’s all  to help the children. Baloney. If you think the Republicans have lost their minds, wait until Miller calls a special session to raise gas tax. Whatever price relief we could get at the pump will be wiped out by a MUCH greater tax. Remember the Democrats proud mantra for MD-if it walks, breathes, stands, whether it is animal, vegetable or mineral we will TAX it!


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