The Maryland Senate passed budget legislation Thursday that included an extra tax hike to those households with a taxable income of more than $500,000, which amounts to roughly $2,500 more a year for earners in that bracket.
The state would generate an estimated $30 million from the increase. The extra money is slated to go toward schools and municipalities.
The budget passed the Democrat-controlled Senate with a 26-20 vote.
The Baltimore Sun editorial board said that the Senate’s new super-bracket for high income earners is not well thought out.
Disinclined as we may be to pity the plight of those making more than $500,000 a year, the state Senate, in its attempt to raise more revenue from such top earners, has gone too far. The Senate has adopted a plan that appears to be unique among the 50 states and would violate a cardinal rule of income tax policy, which is that a dollar earned should not cost more than a dollar in taxes. When the House of Delegates takes up the budget, it will have some work to do to clean this mess up.
Gov.Martin O'Malley proposed what remains the most sensible plan for raising new revenue through the income tax. Rather than changing the rates, his plan was to phase out some exemptions and deductions for the top 20 percent of Maryland earners. That had the benefit of being progressive (the amount it cost any family increased with their income) and of simultaneously providing new revenue for local governments as partial compensation for their adoption of some of the costs of teacher pensions.
* The District’s Office of Campaign Finances officially closed its case of former Councilman Harry Thomas Jr., who resigned from his post in January and pleased guilty to two charges stemming from stealing city money.
The Washington Examinerreported that the cases didn’t really yield any new findings since the case was administratively closed after the key players pleaded guilty to the related charges and were cooperating with federal investigators.
Via The Examiner:
"In view of the fact that Mr. Thomas and witnesses [Marshall] Banks and [James] Garvin are awaiting sentencing on felony convictions, there is no likelihood of them becoming available for hearings required for the adjudication of this matter," the report states. "Moreover, the Office of Campaign Finance presently lacks the authority to proceed with the investigation of alleged violations of the District of Columbia Conflict of Interest laws."
Thomson pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 for embezzling more than $300,000 for personal use from city funds intended for youth sport camps.
* The AP reports that D.C. United just signed a contract to play two more seasons at RFK Stadium, where they have played since 1996.
DC United has played in the now aging RFK since 1996. Built in 1961, the stadium also housed the Washington Redskins, baseball's Washingon Senators and the Washington Nationals in its history.
The team would like to move to a new, soccer-only facility, according to the AP, and DC United president Kevin Payne says the team looks forward to “more detailed discussions with the district about a long-term stadium solution.”
* A Virginia bill with potentially vast ramifications passed through both state chambers with little fanfare, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported.
If the bill is passed, members of the Virginia National Guard, police and all other state employees would be prohibited from aiding in the military detention of U.S. citizens without trial.
The bill is meant to take action against a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that could open the door to indefinite government detention of citizens without trial.
Via The RTD:
"This is not what our country was established on," Marshall said, claiming the loophole could be used at any time to trample on constitutional liberties.
At this time it is unknown whether or not McDonnell will sign the bill.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board reflected on Virginia’s legislative session and it didn’t have very nice things to say.
"It can take years to build a good reputation. Tearing one down can take far less time — as the General Assembly sought to prove these past two months.
A host of ill-considered bills pushing a hard-right social agenda drew national wrath and ridicule, much of it richly deserved. No need to recap all the lowlights here; suffice it to say the GOP seemed intent on delivering Barack Obama another Virginia victory by alienating every voting bloc outside the narrow confines of the fundamentalist revival tent.
But at least the Republicans were pushing causes greater than themselves. Not so the self-aggrandizing Democrats in the state Senate, who have taken the budget hostage unless their demands for power are satisfied with committee assignments sufficient to their egos."
* President Barack Obama jumped District lines today and delivered an energy policy speech at Prince George’s Community College.
After the speech, The Washington Post reported that the president made an unscheduled lunch stop for ribs at Texas Ribs & BBQ in Clinton with Sen. Benjamin Cardin.
Cardin is up for reelection and got Obama’s nod of support in January.