Gov: New Taxes on the Table in Maryland

By Tim Persinko
|  Sunday, Aug 21, 2011  |  Updated 11:29 AM EDT
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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley addresses the Maryland Association of Counties on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011 in Ocean City, Md. O’Malley says Maryland must be open to revenue increases to help address the state’s $1 billion budget deficit next year and to tackle shortcomings in sewage upgrades and transportation funding. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

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Gov. Martin O'Malley gave the state a heads up on Saturday, speaking before a meeting of county officials: new taxes may be on the way.

“I wish I could tell you that the choices we have to make this year will be easier, but they won't," O'Malley said.

O'Malley told the Maryland Association of Counties Conference that in fiscal year 2013, the state budget has a projected shortfall of $1 billion dollars.  The governor also said that the federal government, which has contributed heavily to the state's health care costs, could not be counted on to help balance the budget in the future.

"To move Maryland forward, we have to make more cuts, and at the same time, we have to be open to new revenues,” O'Malley said during his keynote speech.

The governor, addressing reporters at the event, declined to name specific areas where he would consider tax increases.  He did say he would prefer to debate new budget decisions during next January's General Assembly, rather than during October's special session on redistricting, WBAL reported.

O'Malley's comments drew an angry response from Rep. state senator E.J. Pipkin.  The governor's comments are "way out of balance and way out of touch," Pipkin told the Baltimore Sun.

Since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, Maryland has trimmed its service spending by $5 billion.  For fiscal year 2012, the state received $9 billion in funding from the federal government, cash that cannot be assured for the following year's budget.

House Speaker Michael Bush, a Democrat, told the Sun that all possible revenue streams would be on the table.  He did name a proposed hike in the gas tax as one possibility.
 

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