Howard County Chamber: No Special Session

'There's going to be a giant sound of sucking money out of Howard County.' —County Council member

The Maryland General Assembly has not voted on for a special session, but Howard County's business leaders said Tuesday they rejected the idea on fiscal grounds.

"The Howard County Chamber of Commerce opposes a special session of the Maryland Legislature, which would be for the sole purpose of raising taxes," read a press release sent out by the the organization on May 1.

"Maryland’s state and local income taxes are already among the highest in the nation," said the statement.

Since state lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on the budget before the regular session adjourned April 9, the governor's so-called "doomsday" budget, with cuts to public safety and education, will take effect July 1 unless a special session is convened.

Critics have said that the state's budget is an overall increase from last year's budget.

"To categorize a $700 million increase in the budget as 'doomsday' is neither an accurate representation of the facts, nor an appropriate justification to raise taxes," said the release. "The fiscal year 2013 budget grew by $700 million over last year, which is actually a 2 percent increase."

County Executive Ken Ulman could be in order. His office under the assumption that a special session would occur.

During the chamber's April 18 legislative wrap-up breakfast,  noted that the cost of teacher pensions has not shifted to the counties and the state made cuts to avoid income tax increases in its current budget.

In a special session, the Senate would push for tax increases on those making more than $100,000, according to the Washington Times.

"From a Howard County perspective, if those tax increases go into effect, it will affect higher-income folks. It's going to hit Howard County more than any county in the state," said Fox. "There's going to be a giant sound of sucking money out of Howard County."

The potential for an income tax increase prompted the chamber to speak out.

"High taxes inhibit the growth of small business because business owners typically pay the individual income tax, not the corporate tax, on their business income," said the chamber.

"Businesses and residents have faced the reality that funds are not unlimited, and so too must the legislature," said the statement. "It’s time to make difficult choices and demonstrate fiscal discipline.."


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