Gov. Martin O’Malley (D, MD) proposes raising taxes on poor, homeowners.

If you’ve haven’t taken a look at Gov. O’Malley’s proposed Maryland budget yet, do so – and weep.  There’s enough idiocy in it for everybody to get a piece: more taxes for the poor (in the form of increased tobacco taxes*); more taxes for homeowners (caps on mortgage deductions) and other wealthy members of the upper professional class (caps on charitable deductions); and, of course, an Amazon tax (because this time Amazon.com simply won’t drop its affiliate program in Maryland in response, surely**).  But here’s the hidden time bomb:

In what O’Malley called one of his most “controversial” proposals, he recommended shifting half of the state’s $946 million tab for teacher pension costs onto the counties.

To help ease the pain of the shift, the state would pick up half of teachers’ Social Security costs, which the counties pay for entirely.

The change would save the state $239 million.

Annnnd it will cost county governments an extra, oh, $239 million or so.  You think that the state is planning to lower statewide tax rates to reflect the savings?  No, neither do I.  You think that Maryland’s county tax rates are going to go up to reflect the increased tax burden?  Why, yes, so do I.  Did Governor O’Malley just tell Maryland voters that he’s planning to put them on the hook for guaranteeing teacher pensions?  He sure did!  Mind you, there’s a real problem with the way that education is funded in Maryland, as can be seen by the way that everybody involved busily tries to blame everybody else. Still, there’s a point where you have to stop handing off the problem, and, well, fix it.

All in all, I can’t wait to see O’Malley’s new Cato ranking. I suspect that his 2010 B isn’t going to be replicated.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*He’s also planning to introduce another gasoline tax, of course.

**Full disclosure: I am an Amazon.com affiliate for Maryland.  Who, thanks to Governor O’Malley, is apparently at risk of losing that revenue stream completely.


  • Rob Crawford says:

    Notice that he’s shifting the union-negotiated, gold-plated pensions onto the counties and taking the fixed, same-for-everyone social security costs for the state.

  • techsan says:

    Someone needs ScottWalker that state. Highly recommended.

  • Skip says:

    I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy, people get the government they vote for… I just request they keep it there and not export it to me, either by moving to my state or shifting the costs to the Federal government.

  • Jbird says:

    Sometimes I wonder why I left Virginia. If you ever want to get an idea of how business friendly Virginia is compared to Maryland, just drive around the DC suburbs of the 2 states. Virginia is chockablock with gleaming corporate buildings and is well past the point of over-developed and over-trafficed. Maryland, not so much (except for maybe the 270 corridor), despite having Baltimore & Fort Meade right there as well.

    It’s my understanding though that the teacher pensions are paid by the state but it’s the counties who negotiate them, so they tend to be extra-generous as they aren’t on the hook for actually paying them out. Maybe I’m wrong.

    It’s the gas tax I’m dreading. I payed $3.34 per gallon in Annapolis this morning. I’m not really excited about the prospect of paying more thanks to a guy I didn’t vote for. It’s too bad Bobby Ehrlich decided not to actually run a campaign after winning the Republican primary.

    As for Amazon, maybe you’ll get lucky. I think there’s a warehouse and shipping facility on the eastern shore.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Jbird: is there? There may be. If so, that’s a relief: Amazon will simply negotiate a two-year bye on the sales tax thing with MD and work to get that law it’s pushing passed on the federal level.

  • Jbird says:

    hmmm. Now that I looked, it seems it’s up in New Castle, De. Which is still the Delmarva Peninsula, but may not help you out.

  • countrydoc says:

    I agree w/ JBird. Whoever negotiated the contracts should be the political body on the hook for paying them. If it was the counties, then they’re getting what’s coming to them.

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