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BLOG: 2013 Fees and Tax Increases Proposed

Early reporting includes an increase in governmental spending, taxes on Internet purchases and increased fees for internet purchases.

The Maryland State Senate received the proposed Budget from the O'Malley administration last week.  While details are still forthcoming, it appears that the following fee and tax increases are being proposed:

Income tax increase for individuals earning more than $100,000 a year and couples earning more than $150,000, along with reductions in deductions available to individuals and families against their tax obligation. Traditionally known as the millionaires tax, this significant departure from those making over a million to those making over $100,000 will dramatically impact Anne Arundel County families.

Internet purchases continues to be an area ripe for new taxes as are increases on smokeless tobacco.

What's not included in the budget bill but likely to come as separate legislation would be increases to the flush tax, the gas tax and other taxes and fees on a variety of issues.  As they say, the devil is in the details....now let's see what those are.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts as more of the budget details are disclosed.  Stay tuned....

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jaime Schneider January 23, 2012 at 02:35 PM
If we need the money to pay for the services, then these are options worth considering.... The Internet shopping is killing small businesses, but it's convenience will continue to keep us shopping online, so why not tax for these purchases? As one who will be effected by the "millionaire" tax and am not nearly earning a million dollars, I suggest there be a compromise to a higher level that would meet the smaller percentage of people. Since Anne Arundel County has a large populus that earns between $100-200K perhaps this tax level needs to be increased to something more like $250k or higher? It will be interesting.... Last, if they would pass the gay marriage bill, they would have many more families that would qualify for these higher taxes, since many of these individuals are highly paid - yet when they cannot register as married, their tax obligations are reduced dramatically. (There are many "couples" who have been together for over a dozen years, and together are earning well over $100-200K per year but aren't taxed...Worth considering, eh?)
Nick Z. January 23, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I think the increase in the flush tax is something that everyone can get behind. I want to see someone who can find a better use for the $2.50 a month. (Before people jump on me saying that the flush fund was raided for cash into the general fund, please inform yourselves that there was a $1-$1 trade for funds sourced from bonds). As far as the internet sales tax goes, I figure we should have been collecting this all along. I somewhat agree that the high income earner level is a bit too low and perhaps a level at 200K/250K might be more amenable,
Amy Leahy January 24, 2012 at 02:53 AM
My first thought in response to Jaime's comment that internet shopping is killing small business is to say that Owe'Malley's taxes on small business in this state is what's killing business in Maryland. This state continues to have a major exodus to neighboring states because he has taxed these companies to the point where they leave. Then because the tax base is eroded, he has to make it up in taxing the families instead. The gas tax, internet sales tax, flush tax, affect even the low income people who can least afford these increases.
John Thomas January 24, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I disagree with the statement that Anne Arundel County has a large populus that earns between $100-200K. I suspect that the majority of people make far far less than that. Any individual making over $100K is rich in my book. Are these people spending their $100K on fancy cars and expensive houses ? Also, low income people probably dont have the internet because they can't afford it and it is not a necessity for them.
Thanks for the suggestions. I know that the internet issue is huge and will be taken up as part of the budget package. Did you realize that two teachers together would have increased tax obligations under the "thousandaires tax"? It is mind boggling the number of average families that will be hurt if this goes through.
Nick, You are correct, there was a "swap-out" cash for bonds, but as you know, bonds require a payback with interest. They cost us more to trade out. More importantly, I do agree with you that the public has an interest in seeing that the Bay issues are addressed. Here's my question to you (and to others who might want to weigh in), does it bother you that the fee is collected for one purpose and used for another?
Nick Z. January 24, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I disagree with the premise of your question. If I have a savings account (flush fund) and I have 600 dollars, and I transfer 300 to my checking account (general fund) to pay for everyday expenses, I have 300 left in my savings. I get a loan (bonds) for 300 and use 300 from savings to pay for a new toilet (waste water). I’ve spent 300 on every day expenses, and 600 on a new toilet, with 300 in loans. So the answer to your question is NO, I don’t have a problem with the movement of money to/from a special fund, as long as it is replaced. However, if the money is replaced by bonds, I would like to see the interest paid from the general fund (if that is possible or makes any sense).
John, Many residents in Anne Arundel County earn less than 100k. Many however, work 2 or 3 jobs for a variety of reasons. Some to get ahead, pay off bills, save for houses or contribute to children's education. I spoke to a gentleman that has two part-time jobs who was laid off from his prior job and has been unable to find one job that gave him the income that he was making. As a result, he works shift work with two different companies in order to catch up from being laid off, and to keep up with the committments made to his kids. Single day paying child support. His last year's income was 104k. Somehow that just doesn't seem to me to be rich if he has to work multiple jobs and is just trying to stay afloat. Anyway, the debate continues....
Nick Z. January 24, 2012 at 05:53 PM
P.S. I think there was a lot of great input regarding the Bay at the briefing before Environmental Matters Committee on the 19th from Chesapeake Bay Commission and the CBF.
Nick Z. January 24, 2012 at 06:04 PM
@ Del. Vitale - I disagree with your representation of two teachers that would exceed the 150K threshold. An example of a husband and wife who meet the 150K threshold would both be: - Full Time teachers (12 month) - Hold Doctorates - Have earned 7 “Step” increases (which have been uncommon recently due to budget limitations)
John Thomas January 24, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Cathy Vitale : No one forced him to have kids. No one forced him to get divorced. Does he live in a house or a small condo ? What kind of car does he drive ? Does he need cable tv and internet ? Do his kids go to private or public school ? The average American only earns $50K per year. I am sorry Ms. Vitale but $104K is considered rich. You are an out of touch politician just like the rest of them...
Patrick Mondor January 24, 2012 at 07:47 PM
John Thomas, You're assertions are woefully shallow and your bias toward those that have worked hard to get where they are do you a great disservice. I spent six years as a Naval Officer making barely over $25,000 yr while spending months on end away from my family and serving my country. I earned my Masters degree and found a great career in Information Technology. I was able to pull enough together to by a house in this area despite the absurd cost of living. My family choose to live in SP for the excellent PUBLIC schools and the great sense of community. Funding two 529 for my kid's college and my 401k, you would be surprised how many "rich" people that make more than $100,000 find themselves just enough to pay the mortgage and the ever increasing bills, after gleefully paying federal and state/local taxes. I also drive a 2002 Honda accord with 150k miles and a 2005 Honda Odyssey with over 90k miles, so not all "rich" people drive fancy cars. However, despite making over $100,000 along with my wife's teacher salary, I assure you I certainly don't feel rich, nor am I climbing the wealth ladder quickly, thanks to politicians that share you sentiment. It is your type of thinking "poisoning" the political discourse with your class warfare talking points, that really turns off people to your cause. Kathy, thank you for sticking up for us "rich" people, I'm beginning to wonder if Jim Thomas is really the Democratic Party of Maryland in disguise.
Patrick Mondor January 24, 2012 at 08:09 PM
For those wondering. Found this on Baltimoresun.com. Jim...you should be happy...alot of "rich" people here in Maryland. Baltimore Avg yearly wage - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Budget analysts average: $70,570 Credit analysts average: $65,170 Financial analysts average: $80,200 Personal finance advisers average: $85,280 Credit counselors average: $57,810 Claims adjusters, examiners and investigators average: $65,540 Insurance appraisers, auto damage average: $54,640 Buyers and purchasing agents, farm products average: $59,010 Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products average: $66,220 Aerospace engineers average: $115,310 Chemical engineers average: $99,850 Civil engineers average: $84,210 Computer programmers average: $76,500 Computer software developers, applications, average: $94,560 Computer software developers, systems, average: $101,200 Elementary and secondary school average: $96,850 Postsecondary education average: $95,850 Marketing managers average: $101,080 Sales manager average: $124,890
John Thomas January 24, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Patrick : The Bottom Line is : the average American individual makes only $50K per year. If you make more than that consider yourself lucky and stop your whining. You chose to live in SP so you pay the price for an expensive house there. No one forced you to start a family. I guess you are too shallow to send your kids to Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park public schools.
Patrick Mondor January 24, 2012 at 08:46 PM
John, Didn't think my post was whining. Simply tried to point out that some of us "rich" people where not born into wealth, we actually worked are butts off to get where we are. Also please stop referencing the avg salary earned int he US vice the Baltimore region. The avg salary here is much more due to the higher standard of living and other factors such as the education of the work force. Finally, noticed how I stated in my post that I did indeed chose to live in SP and start a family (What is it with you and families?) All I can say is I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor!
John Thomas January 24, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Patrick : Here are the facts straight from the US census bureau website : Anne Arundel county has a population of 537,656 as of 2009. Anne Arundel Per capita money income 2009 = $37,823 per year. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/24/24003.html Also please explain in detail to me what makes SP public schools excellent as compared to Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park public schools.
Amy Leahy January 25, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Del. Vitale and Patrick; In case you haven't figured this out yet, John Thomas just loves to comment on blogs and instigate. My blogs have been much fodder for his ignorant attitudes. Plus he asks ridiculous questions - like the one above regarding the schools - just to see how far he can push your buttons.
John Thomas January 25, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Amy : I see that you like to comment on blogs just as much as I do. You like to instigate by nitpicking on Congresswoman Edwards. Regarding the schools .. I see it as a very fair question..
Michelle Alvarez January 25, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I support the flush tax. But am completely against Iowering the millionaire’s tax to a level that is really middle income, families struggling to provide education for their children and other things that we used to consider a given if you reached a certain income level. I am really upset by the internet sales tax. A sales tax is levied on purchases made in the state, companies who operate brick and mortar stores in Maryland collect a sales tax online. Companies that don’t have this presence shouldn’t be forced to collect these fees and then pass them on to the state. These companies are however contributing to state coffers by employing Maryland residents (and paying employment taxes), delivering our goods(and paying gas/transportation taxes, property taxes etc.).
Amy Leahy January 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Michelle, the internet sales tax isn't just aimed at concrete purchases such as a book or CD off of Amazon, but also downloading Apps or ITunes to your IPOD or phone. How about them apples? Your point about the Millionaire's tax needs enlightening - that is not a tax on people who make a million dollars a year, just to clarify. That tax is assessed on families whose estate is worth at least $1,000,000. That would be your house, your car, your money in the bank….you can see how quickly that number could reach $1 million. This is why retired Marylanders become snowbirds and move their tax obligations to Florida. It's them protecting their life's hard work.
michelle, Quick question, do you support the flush tax knowing that an increase will not cover the current projects that have been "pledged" and that the funds can be raided because they are not protected? I agree, many people in this area want to address failing water treatment plants and proactive ways to address the current issues of water quality, but get mad when they find out that the money is not used for the stated purposes. Interested in your thoughts.
Chet Brewer January 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Nice respectful reference to our governor.
Chet Brewer January 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM
on the other hand patrick you can pay for those excellent public schools and services that you consume, just like the rest of us who chose to live here for the same reasons. Do i like my tax bill at the end of the year, absolutely not, but I do appreciate the services and the price of the standard of living and livability we have in this county. I am truly tired of folks who take advantage of the good and the opportunities and are unwilling to pay the bill. Move to Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana, enjoy the low taxes, the crummy roads, the crummier schools, and the exorbitant fees. Me I was perfectly happy to move back to Md after a few years in those thrid world hell holes
Patrick Mondor January 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Chet, Appreciate if you point out in my post where I stated I was against paying taxes to fund the schools my kids are benefiting. Please re-read. I was simply responding to Mr. Thomas' assertion that those that make $100,000 are rich, drive fancy cars and own expensive homes. I'm not against paying taxes. Unlike many in the news recently I pay my taxes. However, I would like all to share in this responsibility. I think I heard some guy on TV Monday night talking about....paying one's fair share. I know I do...
Nick Z. January 28, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I think it is completely fair to charge sales tax on internet purchases, even from apple. If I wanted to buy music from a local store, I have to pay a sales tax, so why should we give a multi-national corporation any different privileges? I would have no problem paying 1.05 for a song or app instead of .99 . Lets get real, how big a deal is this really?
John Thomas January 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Patrick : I notice you totally ignored these facts... Here are the facts straight from the US census bureau website : Anne Arundel county has a population of 537,656 as of 2009. Anne Arundel Per capita money income 2009 = $37,823 per year. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/24/24003.html Therefore anyone making over $90K per year is rich and should feel blessed. I know I do. Also please explain in detail to me what makes SP public schools excellent as compared to Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park public schools.
Amy Leahy January 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I'll be happy to answer that one John Thomas….parental involvement.
John Thomas January 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Amy: Since you say that you research everything that you say show me the statistics that parents in Glen Burnie and BP are not involved in their kids schooling. Are you sitting inside their homes watching them ?

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