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Maryland House Approves Tax Hike in Budget Package

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The Maryland House of Delegates has approved a budget package in a special session and the legislation is now headed to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

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Taxes will increase for some Maryland residents after the state's House of Delegates approved a budget package Wednesday in a special session.

The House voted 77-60 to raise income taxes on single filers who make more than $100,000 and joint filers who make $150,000 in taxable income a year. That tax increase will affect roughly 300,000 taxpayers, according to the Baltimore Sun.

"Eighty-seven percent of the people of Maryland will not see their income taxes increase,” Majority Leader Kumar Barve said. “People who make a quarter of a million dollars a year will have taxes go up about six-and-a-half dollars a week, hardly an onerous increase."

"We shouldn't have to be here to raise taxes in the worst economy in 80 years," Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell said.

Delegate Tiffany Alston, D-Prince George’s County, broke with House Democrats and voted against the tax increase.

"We have the highest foreclosure rate in the state,” she said. “We have a significant number of residents who are going to be affected by this tax increase. So it's a bad policy for our county and it's bad for the people of Maryland."

The House also voted 86-51 for a separate bill to split teacher pension costs over four years and raise taxes on tobacco other than cigarettes.

"Does anyone think the locals can handle a burden that was too big for the state of Maryland?" said Delegate Michael Smigiel, D-Elkton.

The House votes end a special session that began Monday. The Senate has to receive the legislation, according to the Sun, but that is a procedural move, and then it will adjourn.

Gov. Martin O'Malley called the special session to avoid about $500 million in budget cuts that were triggered by the General Assembly's failure to pass the budget package during the 90-day regular session last month.

Republicans argued that they left in April with a balanced budget, but Democrats said that so-called "doomsday budget" required deep cuts in public school education and public safety services and would result in a large increase in tuition at state colleges and universities.

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