Several of Maryland’s most progressive lawmakers introduced a series of revenue bills on Friday that they say would provide the state an estimated $1.4 billion annually and make its tax system more equitable.
Many of the bills have been introduced in previous legislative sessions. The proposals include: a 1% surtax on income from capital gains, elimination of “pass-through” tax loopholes used by many businesses, lowering the threshold for when the estate tax kicks in, requiring multi-state corporations to pay more in Maryland taxes, and a fundamental restructuring of income tax brackets and rates.
“Maryland right now has an upside down tax code. The wealthiest 1% of Marylanders pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than anyone else. And that’s just really unfair to the rest of us 99%,” Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery) said in an online news conference sponsored by the Maryland Fair Funding Coalition.
Palakovich Carr is the sponsor of both the capital gains and “pass-through” proposals. She specifically emphasized the importance of the former proposal.
“This legislation attempts to close that gap and I think it’s especially needed in a year like this one where the wealthiest Americans have added $1 trillion in assets and income through the stock market.”
Del. Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery) made similar remarks about her estate tax proposal.
“Part of a just recovery and having the resources in our state to invest in our future is also making sure that wealthy residents pay their fair share…This bill is about making sure that wealthy residents who pass on their estates with assets-that we are getting our fair share as a state. Currently, $5 million is excluded from state taxes when it comes to our estate tax and the wealth that is passed on. And this bill lowers that exemption to $1 million so that the state is able to recoup and get the dollars to really redistribute and make sure that we are really sharing in prosperity.”
Del. Stephanie Smith (D-Baltimore City) said an unfair tax system exacerbates social inequities.
“One of the things that I have been struck by when we talk about tax policy is that we have come to the realization in many quarters of our state and in America that economic inequities have led to some of the challenges that we have seen as we navigate COVID. There is a reason why some households can’t afford access to WiFi. There is a reason why some households are finding themselves with not enough food to eat…Having a more just and fair tax system is just one way we can lend a better playing field for all Marylanders moving forward.”
Smith is the sponsor of the legislation to overhaul the state’s income tax system.
“One of the things that we often worry about is: ‘How can we have a community that is safe, a community that is healthy and community where people aren’t simply living but thriving?’ And that means we have to have proper investments in all the mechanisms that allow them to live and thrive.”