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I have been shouting this for years-----thank you Wenonah Hauter for writing about this so eloquently! I like the point to O'Malley's placating Iowa farmers!
It's Time for Maryland's Factory Farms to Pay Their Fair Share
Monday, 10 March 2014 13:19 By Wenonah Hauter, OtherWords | Op-Ed
Big chicken-processing companies generate 1.5 billion pounds of fowl waste annually in Delmarva (the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia tri-state area), and it’s choking the Chesapeake Bay.
Each year, Marylanders pay a small tax that goes toward the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). Isn’t it fair to expect the poultry industry to pay too?
Maryland Senator Richard Madaleno and Delegate Shane Robinson recently introduced the Poultry Fair Share Act (PFSA). When you have 305 million chickens on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, that’s a lot of poultry waste polluting the Bay.
In early February, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was quick to threaten to veto the bill — which had little chance of passing into law — because he thinks he will send a strong message to Iowa ahead of the caucuses that he stands for farmers. O’Malley has long had a close relationship with Maryland’s poultry industry, but it’s really big chicken companies, not farmers, that O’Malley is lobbying for. And, as the Baltimore Sun recently pointed out, his veto message raised more than just a few eyebrows while questioning why he won’t hold the state’s industry accountable for its waste problem. The Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest estuary and one of the world’s biggest and most biologically productive estuaries, is one of the region’s most vital economic and recreational assets. Over the past several decades, as the number of factory poultry farms has increased, this historic watershed has suffered a serious decline. Large-scale poultry companies like Perdue create an enormous amount of pollution. Yet the state doesn’t make them clean up the mess that they create or even help cover the cost of this dirty job. Perdue alone has received over $4.2 million dollars in grants and payments from the state of Maryland since 2008, including $74,000 to Jim Perdue personally.
The Poultry Fair Share Act forces the big chicken companies to make a five-cents-per-bird contribution to the BRF to help with the cleanup and relieve some of the tax burden on working and middle class Marylanders. But some politicians have suggested that the fee would hurt the agriculture industry, a sector they claim is the largest contributor to the state economy.
Really? When you look at Maryland’s biggest industries, agriculture is only a minor player. It accounts for only 0.2 percent in the state’s $300 billion economy, according to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
The chicken industry alone accounts for half of the animal manure loads of phosphorus to the Bay, yet Maryland’s politicians have been bowing to big chicken companies and granting them a free ride to pollute the Bay.
Perdue enjoys annual chicken sales of $4.8 billion but pays nothing into the BRF. But tax-paying Baltimoreans, for example, contribute $60 per year out of their average $23,853 salary to aid Bay restoration efforts. Montgomery, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico County taxpayers also pitch in $60 every year.
Some Maryland officials are even considering calling for an increase in the annual BRF fee after doubling it in 2012 because there’s still a shortfall. With Marylanders potentially on the verge of paying even more into the BRF, wouldn’t this be a good time to ask Big Chicken to pitch in?
If the state doesn’t require chicken companies to contribute, Maryland taxpayers will continue to subsidize the industry while Big Chicken pollutes for free.
The PFSA would require poultry companies to cover a chunk of the bill for the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Cover Crop program. This project is a $20 million per year initiative designed largely to address the massive amounts of excess chicken waste produced on the Eastern Shore where the chicken companies operate. Right now, taxpayers fund this program entirely, including the diversion of funds from the annual $60 tax placed on the state’s septic users.
You have to pick up after your dog in most cities or pay a fine. Let’s tell Jim Perdue and other chicken owners to pick up after their chickens and help clean up the Bay.
The wealthy are buying huge chunks of real estate often with the very money that needs to come back to government coffers from fraud. Progressive taxation is the strongest method of bringing that ill-gotten money back. What the Maryland Assembly has done is redefine estates making them larger and now tax-free. This is what allowed Royalty in Europe to own vast estates supported with peasant taxes. SAME THING IS HAPPENING HERE.
CONSOLIDATION OF LAND OWNERSHIP WITH WEALTH. THIS IS WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF AMERICA WROTE THE US CONSTITUTION TO PROTECT AGAINST. REMEMBER, THE IDEA OF ESTATE TAX AND INHERITANCE TAX WAS THAT EACH GENERATION WOULD START ANEW ON EQUAL FOOTING SO ARISTOCRATS GARNERING OVER-SIZED POWER COULD NOT GAIN HOLD.
Maryland pols are neo-liberals working for wealth and profit!
Assembly leaders agree on cutting estate taxes January 09, 2014 at 8:31 pm
By Len Lazarick
Cemetery by kathleenie on flickr
Democratic leaders have agreed to reduce Maryland’s high estate tax by recoupling it to federal standards for taxing a dead person’s assets. The “death tax” is considered one of the reasons that wealthy retirees choose to leave Maryland for states with lower taxes.
“We’re going to phase out the estate tax,” Senate President Mike Miller not quite accurately told a conference of the Maryland Economic Development Association Thursday, “and raise it to the federal level.”
“I hope we’re going to move forward on the inheritance and estate tax,” Miller said.
House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch, speaking on the same panel of Assembly leaders, said, “I think we have to recouple with the federal government … I think it is a fairness issue.”
The move would have cut Maryland taxes by $14 million this fiscal year and by as much as $87 million four years from now. The estate and inheritance tax represents less than 2% of all Maryland revenues, about $227 million this year. Very few estates actually pay any taxes.
Only 14 states tax estates
Maryland is one of only 14 states that taxes the assets left by deceased residents, and one of only seven states that taxes inheritance, the levy heirs must pay on the money left to them, according to an October report by legislative staff. New Jersey and Maryland are the only two states that impose both a tax on the deceased’s assets, and a tax on any money given to heirs.
Maryland now taxes estates worth over $1 million at 16%. The federal government now excludes the first $5 million of estates from taxes, but takes 40% of anything over that.
Maryland and other states had long followed the federal standards on estate taxes. In 2002, as Congress sought to reduce federal death taxes, Maryland chose to “decouple” its estate tax from the higher federal exclusion.
Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday he hadn’t considered any change in the estate tax, but “I’m glad to talk with them [Miller and Busch]” about it. He would like to see “some compelling evidence that we’re losing more than we gain” by taxing estates differently than the federal standard.
In 2012, O’Malley signed legislation setting the estate limit on family-owned farms at $5 million.
Senate Republican Leader David Brinkley, who is a financial advisor, said, “I applaud the idea of trying to recouple with the federal government.” House Minority Leader Nic Kipke said he was “happy to hear about reducing taxes.”
House Republicans are proposing to cut personal income taxes by 10% this year.
All across the nation neo-liberals at the state level are getting ready to tie a bump in minimum wage with lower corporate taxes. This is the same thing done by Reagan and Clinton as they dismantled public programs and services they made it feel as if this was a balanced deal. Obama was elected with the mantra of holding corporations accountable and reversing wealth inequity and lowering taxes does neither.
We are sick and tired of being told that corporations need this and that in order to create jobs.
WE NEED TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD BROUGHT BACK BE HIGH CORPORATE TAXES!!!! THEY USED TO BE 60% BEFORE REAGAN.
November 20, 2013
The $10 Trillion Heist The Great Corporate Tax Shift
by JACK RASMUS
The great corporate myth-making machine has been hard at work of late, attempting to create the false impression that US corporations are increasingly uncompetitive with their foreign rivals due to the fact they pay much higher corporate taxes in the US and abroad than their capitalist counterparts. But that is one of the great myths perpetrated by corporate apologists, pundits and their politician friends. The myth is high in the pantheon of conscious falsifications their marketing machines feed the American public, right up there along with such other false notions that ‘business tax cuts create jobs’, ‘free trade benefits everyone’, ‘income inequality is due to a worker’s own low productivity contribution’, ‘overpaid public workers are the cause of states’ budget deficits’, or that ‘social security and medicare are going broke’.
If corporate America can create and sell the idea that they pay more taxes than their offshore capitalist cousins, then they are half way home to getting their paid politicians to provide them still more corporate tax cuts—a proposal by the way that both Republicans and Obama are on record for, in their joint proposal to reduce the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% (Obama) or 25% (Republicans).
The message of too high corporate taxes is appearing more frequently nowadays, since actual legislation for big corporate tax cuts is now working its way through Congress. Driving the legislation are Teaparty favorites in the House of Representatives, like David Camp, head of the Ways & Means Committee, and Max Baucus, Democrat in the Senate, who is set to retire in 2014 and wants to give his business buddies yet another big cash freebie (you know Max, the guy who rode herd on that Health Insurance Corporation subsidy bill called Obamacare?).
So it’s time to debunk the ‘US Corporations Pay Too Much Taxes’ (and thus need another tax cut) myth. What follows is the first segment of a longer essay—with tables and graphs—on the same topic that will appear shortly in the December issue of ‘Z’ magazine. More segments of that essay will follow.
US corporations don’t pay the nominal corporate tax rate of 35% today; they pay an effective (i.e. actual) rate of only 12%. The additional effective state-wide corporate income tax they pay amounts to only a 2% or so—not the 10% they claim. And the effective corporate tax on offshore earnings is only another 2.2% or so—not the 20% average they’ll complain. So the total US tax for US corporations is barely 16%–not the 35% plus 10% (state) plus 20% (offshore) nominal tax rate. And however you cut it, the story is the same: US corporations’ share of total federal tax revenues have been in freefall for decades. The share of corporate taxes as a percent of GDP and national income has halved over the decades. And corporations since 2008 have realized record level profits during the ‘Obama Recovery’—while their taxes as a percent of profits since 2008 is half that of the average paid as recently as 1987-2007. Okay, more detail on all that in parts 2 and 3 to follow.
For the moment, what all the corporate tax cutting to date has produced is a mountain of corporate cash. US Corporations today in fact are sitting on more than $10 TRILLION in cash!
For example, even the US business press admits today that US multinational corporations have diverted more than $2 trillion to their offshore subsidiaries, to avoid paying the U.S. Corporate Income Tax. (watch for parts 2 and 3 of to follow for how they do this).
In addition to the $2 trillion now diverted by US multinational corporations offshore, after having paid federal taxes another $1 trillion is now held as cash on hand by the 1,000 largest nonfinancial companies based in the U.S. as of mid-2013, an increase of 61% in the past five years, according to a study by the REL Consulting Group.
For financial companies, deposits in US banks are currently at a record $10.6 trillion, while bank loans outstanding have been declining since 2008 and are now at a record low of $7.58 trillion—thus leaving US banks sitting on a cash hoard of nearly $3 trillion according to the Wall St. Journal. That’s a total of more than $7 trillion so far.
This record after-tax cash exists despite corporations having bought back their stock and paid dividends worth trillions more since 2008. Corporate buybacks of stock since 2009 passed the $1 trillion mark in 2012, according to a survey by Rosenblatt Securities—with projections to increase at an even faster rate of $400-$500 billion more in 2013. Corporate dividend payouts equaled another $282 billion in 2012 alone, perhaps at least that amount in years prior, and are today projected to exceed $300 billion in 2013. That’s another $2.5 trillion.
Include hundreds of thousands of US corporations and businesses that are not part of the largest 1000 or who don’t operate offshore—p;us cash socked away in depreciation funds and other special funds for all the above—and that comes to at least another $500 billion.
That $10 trillion corporate total, moreover, doesn’t include still further additional dollars that have been spent by US corporations abroad. While business investment in the US has been declining, total US corporate foreign direct investment is estimated at $4.4 trillion in 2012, up from $3 trillion in 2007 and from $1.3 trillion in 2000. So that’s another roughly $1.4 trillion in corporate income committed offshore since the official ‘end’ of the recession in June 2009.
Add all that up and its well more than $10 trillion in buybacks, payouts, and hoarded cash (onshore and offshore) by US corporations since 2009—i.e. during the sub-par economic recovery (for the rest of us) of the past four years. That’s corporate income and cash that has been diverted, hoarded, or otherwise not committed to US real investment, and therefore never contributing to jobs, income creation and consumption in the US. No wonder consumption (70% of the US economy) for the bottom 80% households in the US has been stagnating, stalling, or declining in the US in recent years. No wonder all the US economy can do is create low wage, contingent, service jobs, while more than 20 million are still unemployed and uncounted millions more have left the US labor force altogether. No consumption recovery follows declining US investment, while tens of trillions of dollars go elsewhere or sit on the sidelines.
To summarize, at least as much as $10 trillion—and perhaps approaching $12 trillion—has been taken out, redirected, diverted, or otherwise hoarded by US corporations since the 2008 crash. Keep all that in mind when you next hear politicians from the two wings of the one party system in America—Republicans and Democrats—and their friends in mainstream media trying to justify proposals for still more corporate tax cuts.
Dr. Jack Rasmus is the author of the book, “Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few”, published by Pluto Press, London, April 2012. He is the host of the weekly internet radio show from New York, ‘Alternative Visions’, on the Progressive Radio Network, prn.fm. His website is www.kyklosproductions.com and he blogs at jackrasmus.com. His twitter handle is drjackrasmus.
We listened to Basu of Sage Policy tell us on our local WYPR that the massive privatization of public services via private contractors has created a circle of wealth around DC. It is almost as thought one can hear the sucking sound of taxpayer money being lost to massive corporate fraud that many government watchdogs place at tens of trillions of dollars across all business sectors. See why government at all levels are bankrupt and all of the corporate headquarters are shrines to wealth? That's right...subcontracting to subcontractors makes it hard to track where the fraud goes and these corporate pols like it that way.
What this idea of the ICC privatization does is exactly that. You take a public function open for public scrutiny, place it in private hands and pay for all of the operational costs with public taxpayer money and VOILA..maximized profits for the contracting company awarded. The contractors always have connections to the Public Service Commissions and Executives.
So, privatizing the ICC is not what the people want and you would expect Mike Miller to call for policy that is not in the public's interest. We do not want a toll road. We want the State of Maryland to bring back billions of dollars in corporate fraud, we want them to stop giving so many business tax credits that public coffers are starved for revenue, and make the wealthy beltway communities pay!
Miller proposes local gas tax, leasing ICC Transportation plan also includes 3% fuel sales tax
By Michael Dresser and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun 7:59 p.m. EST, January 24, 2013
Baltimore and Maryland's counties could impose their own 5-cents-a-gallon tax on gas to pay for local roads and buses under a proposal by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Miller also proposed Thursday leasing a state toll highway to a private operator to raise money for mass-transit projects in Baltimore and the Washington suburbs.
His proposal comes as lawmakers in Annapolis are struggling to find ways to raise money for transportation projects they say are long overdue. While the ideas will face tough scrutiny in the General Assembly, other leading Democrats are praising Miller for offering new ideas and say bold new thinking is needed to fix Maryland's transportation system.
Among Miller's ideas is a two-tiered increase in taxes on gasoline. In addition to the optional increase the state's counties and Baltimore could adopt, he is suggesting a 3 percent sales tax on gasoline that would apply statewide.
"It's a tough sell," Miller told reporters. "I'm up to it."
Under Miller's plan, the gasoline sales tax would be paid by wholesalers and passed on to motorists indirectly. Local elected officials could add to the state's existing 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax by charging up to 5 cents a gallon, raising revenue for local road and transit projects.
Miller, a Calvert County Democrat, also suggested leasing the Intercounty Connector in suburban Washington to an "international giant" that would pay up front for the right to collect the tolls. He suggested that the state could use the lease money to pay for the state's share of such proposed transit projects as the Red Line in Baltimore, the Purple Line in Prince George's and Montgomery counties and the Corridor Cities Transitway along Interstate 270 northwest of Washington.
Miller has taken the lead on crafting a plan that tackles a backlog of road, infrastructure and transit projects that would cost billions of dollars. While Gov. Martin O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Miller have all publicly agreed the needs are so great that they must be addressed, the three Democrats have not reached a consensus on the best way to come up with money.
O'Malley and Busch have both said they welcome Miller's plan as a starting point for discussion, but have not commented on specifics.
"Any gas tax increase is a hard sell," Miller said. "We're going to work hard, the speaker, the governor and I, to find out what we can make happen and commit ourselves to accomplishing it by getting the votes in the House and the Senate."
This year O'Malley floated a possible penny increase in the state sales tax — to be dedicated to transportation — though he has not made it a formal proposal. Last year, he publicly backed a plan to apply the state's full 6 percent sales tax to sales of gasoline.
Miller's suggested 3 percent sales tax would raise roughly $300 million a year of the roughly $700 million the governor has said the state needs to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, which now can pay for little more than maintenance and operations.
Miller also floated the idea of setting up regional authorities in Maryland's urban areas to fund transit systems. According to a Miller aide, the proposal could involve a surcharge on the state's property tax within the boundaries of those authorities, presumably putting a heavier burden on transit-dependent urban regions than on rural areas.
The Senate president said such a system would allay the concerns of rural senators that their tax dollars are disproportionately going toward mass transit. Republicans say Miller has been talking with them about crafting a bipartisan plan that would raise revenue while meeting their concerns.
Busch, an Annapolis Democrat, has expressed concern about higher taxes for people in urban areas, pointing out that residents of populous Montgomery County pay a disproportionate share of taxes but receive a smaller percentage of school construction expenses than many rural counties.
An aide to Miller said the Senate president's plan is being drafted and should be introduced next week.
If selling a gas tax is hard, persuading lawmakers to back a long-term lease of a giant state asset such as the ICC could be even more of a challenge. The mostly completed, 19-mile toll road from U.S. 1 to Interstate 270 cost $2.6 billion, much of it financed with long-term debt.
Such lease arrangements, a form of public-private partnership, are common in other countries but still rare in the United States. The best-known such arrangement is the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a consortium of the Spanish firm Cintra and the Australian bank Macquarie, a deal struck by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2006. More recently, a proposal by former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell to offer the Pennsylvania Turnpike for a long-term lease stalled in the face of political opposition.
Warren Deschenaux, the legislature's chief analyst, said a typical lease deal runs from 30 to 99 years. He said that what Miller is suggesting is possible.
"Where there's a revenue, there's an opportunity to monetize it, and tolls are our revenue," he said,
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun
Keep in mind that Maryland loses billions in revenue through corporate fraud and that these numbers do not include how much was given back as business tax credits.
Maryland tax revenue estimates upped for 2013, 2014 Baltimore Business Journal by Gary Haber, Staff Reporter Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012, 4:49pm EST - Gary HaberStaff Reporter- Baltimore Business Journal
Maryland state revenues are expected to increase by a combined $161 million in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, according to the latest estimates released Thursday.
The Board of Revenue Estimates forecasts Maryland will bring in $15.03 billion in revenue in fiscal 2013, which started July 1. That is an increase of 5.5 percent, or $127 million, from the $14.9 billion estimate back in September.
As for fiscal 2014, forecasters said they now expect the state to bring in $15.35 billion in fiscal 2014. That would be up 2.1 percent, or $33.7 million, from the $15.3 billion projected in September.
Much of the projected revenue growth is expected to come from corporate tax collections. The latest forecast calls for $892.6 billion in corporate tax collections in fiscal 2013, up $106.3 million, or 38.1 percent from September.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot sounded a cautionary note Thursday. The higher revenue estimates reflect only modest growth, Franchot said in a statement. Much of the growth in individual tax collections has come from higher taxes while Maryland lags the nation in private-sector wage growth, ranking 46th nationally, Franchot said.
“There’s just no way to gloss over the fact that — despite positive news in recent weeks — we still have a steep hill to climb,” Franchot said in a statement. “The truth is that sales and use tax, perhaps our most indicative economic indicator, remains incredibly weak.”
Gov O'Malley deliberately used most of the Transportation Trust on developing the ICC connector and on building a state-of-the-art public transportation system in Montgomery County for two reasons.....Wall Street wants credit bonds to be the next Wall Street bubble that when the next crash comes and financial experts say we are just a few years away, that all public assets will become privatized as municipalities will not have the funds to support their end of these public-private deals. O'Malley has worked hard for these Wall Street guys and this will be his last scheme. It will no doubt move him to national office as a team player.
What the citizens of Maryland want on the other hand is a tax directed at those Washington suburbs having received all that funding so as to replenish the fund and pay for all other state transportation projects. A progressive gas tax that has gas industry businesses paying a top tax on gas sales of 8% for wholesalers, 4% for gas station owners, and 2% for people at the pumps.....progressive is the key as people who make the most profit pay the highest tax rate. Your pol can make sure this tax isn't sent to you so don't let them use that excuse! We also need to address the lost revenue from hybrid and electric vehicles as we don't want them feeling they aren't paying their fair share of road maintenance. An annual vehicle fee will do that.
DO YOU NOTICE THAT NONE OF THESE IDEAS ARE EVER MENTIONED IN MARYLAND MEDIA AS SOLUTIONS? I KNOW THAT O'MALLEY INTENDS ON USING THE ABOVE AS HIS NEW APPROACH. WALL STREET WAS PUSHING THIS TWO YEARS AGO!
State leaders urged to raise money for roads, transit Advocates gather to press for new try for gas tax increase
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun 6:55 p.m. EST, December 12, 2012
Business leaders and county officials are urging the governor and General Assembly to increase Maryland's gas tax or find another way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for road and transit projects — even in the face of public opposition.
More than 100 people packed a hearing room in Annapolis on Wednesday to discuss strategies. They want to persuade legislators to raise the money needed to develop major new transportation projects, not just maintain what the state already has.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said the General Assembly needs to act in the legislative session that begins next month, not "kick the can down the road."
Some participants in Wednesday's Transportation Funding Summit contend that Gov. Martin O'Malley needs to make a more sustained, hands-on push for a tax on gasoline than he did last year. Others argue that he needs instead to come up with an alternate, "outside-the-box" approach to raising money, in which the gas tax is a smaller part of the solution.
So far, the O'Malley administration has been mum on its plans. Spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the governor and his staff are still formulating his legislative program.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, says officials need to see what happens in the federal negotiation over the "fiscal cliff" before deciding what can be done in Maryland. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says he's willing to make a new push for revenue, but it will require the governor's direct involvement in rounding up votes.
"It's a tough sell, and we need to see everyone pulling an oar," said Miller, a Calvert County Democrat.
Maryland's traditional revenue sources for transportation — among them titling taxes, registration fees and the 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax — are no longer producing enough money to build new highway or transit projects needed to relieve congestion, according to the nonpartisan state Department of Legislative Services.
By 2018, analysts project, the entire Department of Transportation capital spending program for highways will be used for "system preservation" — that is, repair of current roadways, with nothing left over for design and construction of new projects.
And that doesn't take into account the projected costs of building three major transit systems currently planned: Baltimore's Red Line, the Washington suburbs' Purple Line and Montgomery County's Corridor City Transitway. With application deadlines for federal funds to build the Red and Purple lines as early as next year, Maryland has yet to identify a source of funds for the state's share — more than $1 billion for each project.
Meanwhile, road projects all over the state are taking a hit as the costs of transit systems chew up more of the state's transportation dollars. During the past budget year, spending on mass transit — mostly for basic operations – took up 48 percent of the budget, compared with 23 percent for roads. Just five years before, spending on the two categories was roughly even.
The sickly condition of the state's Transportation Trust Fund is old news in Annapolis. Before the 2011 session, a blue-ribbon commission advised the General Assembly that Maryland needed about $850 million a year in additional revenue and recommended a series of revenue-raisers, including a 15-cents-a-gallon increase in the gas tax. Lawmakers said no.
Early this year, O'Malley proposed a 6 percent sales tax on gasoline that would have added about 18 cents to the price of a gallon of gas and raised about $613 million a year. The measure didn't even get a committee vote, as distracted legislators wrangled with several higher-profile issues — same-sex marriage, casino gambling and an income tax increase.
Many lawmakers say there is little chance the result would be different if the governor were to return in January with a variation of either of the gas tax proposals. The resistance from their constituents is just too strong, they say.
Del. James E. Malone Jr., who represents Baltimore and Howard counties, shows how difficult passage of a transportation revenue package would be. He's a Democrat, vice chairman of the subcommittee that oversees transportation policy and a self-described "big transit guy." But he took a constituent survey last year and found his voters were "adamantly opposed to the gas tax." He says his "gut feeling" is that their minds haven't changed. The votes needed in the Assembly to pass a tax increase won't be there, he says.
House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve, a Montgomery County Democrat who supports increased transportation spending, said he's doubtful that substantial new revenue can be raised. The best legislators may be able to do, he said, is hope that an improving economy produces enough new income tax revenue to yield a surplus, then use some of that money for transportation.
Sen. David R. Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican, said one obstacle to new transportation revenue is that taxpayers suspect the money will be diverted to general budget purposes — as it has been in the past under governors of both parties. He said the public won't be willing to support such measures "unless trust is restored to the Transportation Trust Fund."
One problem facing transportation advocates is that other conventional revenue streams for such projects have been tapped more recently than the gas tax, which was last increased in 1992 and which has lost much of its buying power. Under Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the legislature nearly doubled the registration fee. O'Malley increased the titling tax in 2007. Neither is as effective at raising revenue as the gas tax.
The difficulty of selling increases in any of the usual revenue sources for transportation has prompted some advocates to call for alternative approaches, including unconventional financing, public-private partnerships or regional transportation authorities.
Kathy Snyder, president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, restated her business group's decade-long support of a gas tax increase but said other new approaches may be needed as well.
"We have to find a new way of dealing with these projects. The gas tax is not going to cut it," she said.
"It may be we need a different model. It may be a gas tax, it may not be the gas tax," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman told the summit. One possibility, he said, is that the state may have to set up regional authorities with different levels of taxation.
Ulman, a Democrat, said it may require more than lobbying the legislature to win passage of a transportation revenue bill. He said parties with an interest in transportation projects — including developers, road builders and mass-transit-supporting environmentalists — might have to raise money and mount a public ad campaign to call attention to the state's transportation needs.
The Howard executive, considered a potential candidate for governor in 2014, pointed to the success of the recent campaign for approval of gambling expansion in Maryland.
"We've seen what happens," he said.
DO YOU THINK THAT YOUR MARYLAND INCUMBENT IS GATHERING THESE BUSINESS LEADERS TO TALK ABOUT REVENUE GENERATION INVOLVING BRINGING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD BACK TO THE CITIZENS OF MARYLAND.....NO, THEY ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH IN CORPORATE TAX CUTS WOULD PLEASE THE CORPORATIONS?
Md. board to hear from business leaders
November 15, 2012 02:19 EST WBFF Fox News
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates is holding a forum to hear from business leaders.
The board is holding the forum on Thursday in Annapolis to get a better sense of the current economic conditions and challenges facing the state's economy.
It will include business leaders from a variety of Maryland industries and leaders from every region of the state.
The forum also will include representatives from banking and financial services industries. It also will include representatives from real estate, consumer services, utilities and manufacturing industries
These are the stats.....80% of Americans want wealth inequity reversed and 80% want corporations/banks held accountable to law. Economists all say that our economy is stagnant because of these issues. Taxes have nothing to do with it! Maryland has billions in health fraud and billions in financial fraud yet to come back to the state so we want our legislators to start the process through a tax surcharge specifically for corporate crime. These businesses will be paying for a decade or more to return what is trillions in fraud across all business sectors.
Knowing that the rich and corporations need to pay their fair share of the deficit and knowing that they created the deficit, the last thing you will hear is a call to lower taxes. Remember, there are aiding and abetting laws!
Next, people sat these three years as $3 trillion in corporate tax breaks......bringing the average tax rate for businesses to 17% even as we were accumulating more and more debt. It appears national debt doesn't matter unless you are trying to slash public programs and employees. If corporations do not want to move to Maryland because of high taxes then we have succeeded in moving our economy to one of small business growth which is what everyone wants! So, all we need is state funding equal to business tax credits for this past decade given the the Small Business Administration and let mom and pop grow our economy.
Tax corporations progressively.....small businesses won't be hurt!
Economist backs lower Md. corporate tax, and some legislators agree November 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm
From left: Matt Palmer, government affairs vice president at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, moderates panel of Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, Del. Sheila Hixson and Sen. Rob Garagiola.
By Sam Smith
In the midst of America’s fiscal crisis, economist Anirban Basu told members of Maryland’s Chamber of Commerce that it is imperative for the state to lower corporate income tax to create better opportunity to attract capital investment to offset the impact of decreased federal spending.
Speaking at the chamber’s business policy conference in Ellicott City on Friday, Basu said the Free State is three times more vulnerable to the impact of federal reductions than any other state. The number of Americans that work for the federal government is 2.1%, while 5.2% of Marylanders get a federal paycheck. With extensive cuts scheduled for the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, both staples in Maryland’s economy, Basu said Maryland is in for a “world of hurt.”
“We need to change our economy and position ourselves to attract more private capital,” Basu said. “How do you do that? By having one of the worst business tax climates in the country? No. That is, actually as it turns out, not the way to do it.”
10th worst business tax climate
Basu cited the Tax Foundation’s 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index which ranked Maryland as the 10th worst business tax climate in the country and should be concerned with staying competitive with Virginia in attracting potential businesses. Although Virginia also relies heavily on federal jobs, they have historically lower unemployment rates than Maryland and have the sixth best corporate tax climate in the nation, compared to Maryland ranking 15th. Virginia’s corporate income tax is 6% and hasn’t been raised in 40 years, while Maryland has an 8.25% rate.
“Maryland doesn’t outscore Virginia on any dimension,” Basu said. “Virginia is our primary competitor and we just do not compete.”
After Basu’s presentation, leaders from three Maryland companies, W.L. Gore & Associates, Old Line Bank and Merritt Properties, said in a CEO panel that they also feel Maryland needs to develop tax policies that will help grow Maryland business.
Legislators agree on lowering corporate tax
Later in a legislative panel with Del. Sheila Hixson and Sens. Edward Kasemeyer and Rob Garagiola, the three lawmakers agreed that lowering the corporate tax would be in the best interest of the state.
Hixson, a Montgomery County Democrat and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that a decrease has not been considered in any of the House’s tax plans.
“I would be happy to work with Ed to see if we can get together with the House and Senate and certainly go forward with hearings and getting what kind of fiscal impact it has,” Hixson said. “Sometimes in the state legislature we get accused of not being business friendly, but there is a sense that we want everybody working together in this point in time to help you.”
Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat and chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, proposed cutting one quarter of one percent per year until “the impact wouldn’t be so significant every year.”
“I think it would be for the better of Maryland if we could reduce it,” Kasemeyer said. “From a perception basis, the 8.25% rate makes us look out of line. We get around $750 million from the corporate income tax.”
Although Garagiola, Senate majority leader, said that Maryland does rely too heavily on federal jobs, the state has taken action to diversify its economy in recent years.
“The are a number of things that we put in place, the research and development tax credit, to try to foster and grow other industries,” he said. “Biotech, high tech, even greentech. It’s one of the fastest growing sectors in our state. There were a lot of jobs created in that sector even during the recession.”
“We got to react to what they do at the federal level,” Garagiola added.
THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TAX REVENUE LOST FROM TAX POLICY THAT PROTECTS THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS IN MARYLAND. WE WANT THEM TO STOP TAKING OUR PUBLIC SERVICES AND JOBS AWAY BECAUSE OF THIS FAILURE TO SECURE REVENUE FROM THE TOP EARNERS IN THE STATE.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!
Income tax hike worries some business groups Posted: 6:00 pm Sun, May 13, 2012
While the governor has touted Maryland’s comparatively low tax burden on its high-income populace, some groups are concerned that the income tax hikes proposed for this week’s special session will harm Maryland’s national rankings on taxes and business climate.
Gov. Martin O’Malley on Wednesday cited various national rankings for Maryland’s income, sales and corporate taxes to show they were not as high as some opponents portray. But Larry Hogan, chairman of the pro-business Change Maryland, said the legislature’s own fiscal analysts say the state already has the second-highest income tax burden in the nation.
In its 2012 Issue Papers (page 27), the Department of Legislative Services says Maryland ranks No. 2 in the nation on its reliance on the personal income tax, according to 2009 Census data.
Hogan said, “This report raises red flags about Maryland’s over-reliance on the income tax to support state spending, and our top elected officials are on the verge of making the problem even worse.”
The proposed tax hikes would raise income rates 5 percent to 10 percent on single taxpayers making $100,000 a year or more and on couples earning $150,000, generating over $200 million in new revenues next year.
The actual percentage rates on taxable income go up 0.25 percentage points to 0.50 percentage points to a maximum of 5.75 percent, depending on the income bracket. O’Malley says the top one-sixth of taxpayers will be paying more.
The DLS report does confirm O’Malley’s assertion that Maryland taxes, by some measures, are not that high.
“Maryland ranks 23rd and 18th, respectively, in total state and local government revenues and spending measured on a per-capita basis and 51st and 48th, respectively, in revenues and spending as a percentage of personal income of residents,” the report says. “However, Maryland relies more on tax revenues than most states and less on nontax revenue sources.
“Generally, Maryland ranks in the bottom half of all states with respect to property taxes, corporate income taxes, and sales taxes measured on a percentage of income basis,” the report says. “Total state and local government spending and revenues in Maryland are not generally high compared to other states.”
“We ought to be proud” of the state’s reliance on the income tax, said Neil Bergsman of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, which advocates a “balanced approach” of tax hikes and spending cuts to balance the state budget. “The income tax is the one that is most related to ability to pay.”
Bergsman added, “The main reason that Maryland ranks so high on income tax reliance is because we allow local governments to share in the income tax,”
According to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Maryland is the only state that allows all its counties to share in the income tax, adding a piggyback tax of up to 3.2 percent, which the state collects for the local governments.
This is mainly used to fund the school systems, which receive half or more of the local budgets in most jurisdictions. School systems in most states rely on the more regressive property tax.
“This is also a fairer system,” Bergsman said.
The proposed tax hike, which will get hearings on Monday in Senate and House committees, “is a compromise,” Bergsman said. “It is not anyone’s first choice. I liked the Senate plan better,” which raised taxes on a broader group. “It would have put us in a better position in coming years.”
Hogan disagrees, citing a January Gonzales poll that found 96 percent of Maryland voters thought they were taxed too much or just enough.
“If our elected officials won’t listen to the 96 percent of Marylanders who are opposed to higher taxes,” Hogan said, “maybe they should at least listen to their own budget analysts who are raising red flags about over-reliance on the income tax.”
Maryland Business for Responsive Government, Americans for Prosperity and Republican lawmakers are all opposing the proposed income tax hikes, while groups such as Progressive Maryland are backing even higher tax increases, particularly on high-income taxpayers.
Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, writes in Center Maryland that the income tax proposal “would impose substantial tax increases on major segments of the state’s taxpayers.”
“These days, people with these kinds of income levels aren’t poor, but they are far from wealthy. And many are small-business owners and job generators,” Fry says.
“In this economy, does anybody deserve an income tax increase of 10 percent or more? A second pertinent question: Is this kind of tax structure good for our business climate?
“It would appear to violate a core pillar of a competitive state environment for economic growth and job creation: ‘A tax structure that is fair and competitive,’” Fry concludes.
FOR THOSE WANDERING WHERE THEIR TRANSPORTATION TRUST WENT HERE IS A CLUE.....WE KNOW MUCH OF IT WENT TO BUILD THE PRIVATIZED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY.....NOW WE MOVE FUNDS TO BUILD A BRIDGE FOR A BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY IN AN ENTERPRISE ZONE.
City wants to retarget road funds
Posted: 6:04 pm Mon, September 24, 2012
By Melody Simmons
Daily Record Business Writer
A plan to build a $32.9 million bridge from the foot of Central Avenue near Fells Point across a small inlet to Harbor Point — the site of the new Exelon Corp. divisional headquarters — will receive money originally targeted for other Baltimore road projects already in the pipeline, if officials at the city’s Department of Transportation have their way.
THE VOTERS IN CALIFORNIA WILL HOPEFULLY TAKE ONE OF THE BUSINESS TAX BREAKS OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE POLITICIANS AS THEY POSSIBLY VOTE TO END OUT OF STATE BREAKS. MARYLAND HAS THE SAME LOSS OF BUSINESS REVENUE WITH SIMILAR LAWS.
THE PEOPLE NEED TO REVERSE THIS DRAIN OF CORPORATE REVENUE AND CALIFORNIA IS HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. WILL BUSINESSES LEAVE THE STATE? IF THEY DO THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TO TAKE ITS PLACE.......AND THEY KNOW THAT. WE ARE ALL BEING DUPED BY THIS FEAR-MONGERING OVER LOST BUSINESSES AND JOBS. IF WE DON'T ALLOW FOR SOME LOSSES WE WILL NOT TURN THIS ECONOMY AROUND IN THE PEOPLE'S FAVOR.
California Voters Cooling Toward $1 Billion Business Tax Break
James NashSep 17, 2012 4:07 am ETSept. 17 (Bloomberg) --
California lawmakers couldn’t bring themselves to end a $1 billion tax break for General Motors Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and other multistate businesses, so now voters will decide.
If Proposition 39 is approved, as at least one recent poll suggests, corporations based outside California would lose an option that let some pay lower income taxes than those in-state.
California, the most populous and most indebted state, has cut spending on schools and the poor to help erase a $15.7 billion deficit. Governor Jerry Brown is asking voters in November for higher sales and income taxes.
“Special interests will block any attempt to close this loophole through the Legislature,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat who championed an effort to repeal the tax break that died in the Senate Aug. 31. “It is up to the voters to approve this measure to make California businesses competitive and create jobs.”
Leading the fight for passage of the ballot measure is billionaire hedge-fund manager Thomas Steyer, the chairman of Farallon Capital Management LLC in San Francisco, who has donated $21.9 million to the effort, according to campaign- finance records.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that adopting the so-called single-sales factor tax formula would yield $1 billion a year in additional revenue. Perez’s plan earmarked the money for college scholarships. Under Steyer’s proposition, half would go toward general spending and half to energy-efficiency projects.
California requires businesses in agriculture, mining and banking to base their corporate taxes equally on payroll, property and sales, according to the state Finance Department. Other companies may choose to base their taxes 100 percent on sales, or a formula that’s 50 percent in-state sales, 25 percent property and 25 percent on other sales.
The rules were put in place as part of a deal Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger struck with fellow Republicans in 2009 in return for their support of a tax increase to help eliminate a $35 billion deficit.
Corporate income taxes are the third-largest revenue source for California’s general fund, yielding $9.6 billion in 2010-2011, the legislative analyst said.
Perez’s legislative bid to repeal the optional tax formula attracted support from unions including the California Teachers Association and from one corporation, San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., according to a legislative analysis.
“It’s a question of tax fairness,” Steyer, the co- chairman of Yes on 39, said in a blog post. “This corporate loophole only helps out-of-state companies. Nobody else. It saves them just over a billion dollars per year in taxes. On top of that, it is powerful incentive for them not to hire Californians.”
Opponents include companies that have benefited from the choice such as GM in Detroit, Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark, the maker of personal-care products; Chrysler Group, the automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Memphis, Tennessee-based International Paper Co.
Spokesmen for each of the companies declined to give information about their tax liabilities in California or how they would change if the optional tax formula were repealed. They referred questions to Peter DeMarco, the Sacramento-based spokesman for their lobbying group, California Employers Against Higher Taxes.
DeMarco declined to comment on the tax implications of the change on individual companies, saying it was proprietary information. H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Finance Department, said state officials wouldn’t release the information for the same reason.
Qualcomm hasn’t taken a position on Proposition 39, spokeswoman Christie Thoene said by e-mail. The campaign for the measure lists several smaller companies as backers on its website, such as Atlas Project Support, a consultancy based in Bonsall, California, that advises developers on energy efficiency. The company’s founder, Michael Vargas, said the ballot measure’s promise of as much as $500 million a year to help curb energy use could be good for his three-employee firm.
“People are more interested in the energy space than ever before,” Vargas said by telephone.
Opponents haven’t set up a formal political committee to fight the measure, according to secretary of state records.
The tax change would amount to a $1 billion a year in additional cost for businesses while the state is struggling with the nation’s third-highest unemployment rate, said Dorothy Rothrock, vice president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.
The Golden State’s business climate is already seen as difficult because of environmental laws and sales taxes on manufacturing equipment, she said by telephone.
“If this is something to ostensibly benefit the economy in California, why aren’t businesses supporting it?” Rothrock said. “There’s no benefits. There’s only harm.”
Proposition 39 had the support of 57 percent of likely voters in an online poll released last week by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. About 29 percent opposed the measure. The poll of 802 people was conducted Sept. 9-12 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The proposition will face “strong headwinds” as opponents play up their economic arguments, said Bob Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.
“When a measure is complicated and voters aren’t sure, they tend to vote no,” Stern said.
--Editors: Pete Young, Ted Bunker
I DON'T USUALLY AGREE WITH THE BALTIMORE SUN BUT THEY DID A GREAT JOB IN EXPLAINING WHY YOU SHOULDN'T VOTE FOR EXPANDED GAMBLING THIS ELECTION. JUST AS WITH EXELON AND BGE, THE WINDFARMS, AND NOW GAMBLING ON STEROIDS....IT IS ALL A POLITICAL PLOY. IT WILL HURT AVERAGE CITIZENS AND THE TAX MONEY NEVER GOES TO WHERE IT IS INTENDED. (WINDFARMS ARE GOOD JUST NOT WITH THAT PROPOSAL!)
VOTE NO ON GAMBLING AT NATIONAL HARBOR!!!!!!
The misleading pitch for Question 7 Our view: Gambling interests are spending millions to make a sixth casino sound like a better deal for Maryland than it really is
11:38 a.m. EDT, September 6, 2012 Baltimore Sun Opinion
Give the new television ad asking voters to approve Maryland's Question 7 credit for one thing: It is spot on in accusing the opposition of being bankrolled by an out-of-state gambling company worried about losing revenue at its marquee location in West Virginia. Of course, the ad doesn't mention that the group who sponsored it — For Maryland Jobs & Schools Inc. — is a front for the gambling giant MGM, which stands to reap hundreds of millions if voters allow a sixth casino in Prince George's County. Fortunes will be spent on back-and-forth advertisements in the coming weeks because even greater fortunes stand to be gained or lost with the outcome of November's vote. The truth, inevitably, will be the loser.
The latest pro-casino ad focuses on the purported benefits to taxpayers of expanding Maryland's gambling program, but it does so selectively. It claims that approving Question 7 will create 4,000 permanent jobs, based on a study commissioned by casino advocates. No doubt Question 7 has the potential to create some jobs, at least in the short term. Trade unions are strongly in favor of it because of the construction jobs that would be created if MGM and the developers of National Harbor follow through with their promises of an $800 million resort casino. And table games, which would be made legal if Question 7 passes, create many more jobs than slots-only casinos.
However, the ultimate effect on Maryland's economy is hard to judge. We don't know whether adding a third mega-casino in the Baltimore-Washington corridor would over-saturate the market, but we have already seen signs that the appetite for gambling in Maryland is not infinite. Hollywood Casino in Perryville — owned by Penn National, the same people spending millions on the anti-Question 7 ads — has seen a major drop in revenue since Maryland Live opened at Arundel Mills. And even Maryland Live's revenue is settling down from its stratospheric first weeks. The Maryland Lottery Commission reports that total revenue there dropped by about $3 million from July to August, a difference of almost $70 per machine per day. We have no idea what will happen when a Baltimore casino opens a little more than a dozen miles away, much less what the effect would be of a casino at National Harbor. The promise of new jobs in Prince George's County may seem less attractive if the new casino simply takes them away from someplace else.
From there, the ad's claims get dicier. It reports that the Department of Legislative Services has estimated that Question 7 will produce hundreds of millions for Maryland schools. Eventually, it could add up to that much, but not soon and not just because of the Prince George's casino. DLS figured that the new casino in Prince George's would add just $48 million to the education trust fund in fiscal 2017, a figure that is expected to grow to $66 million a year when it is fully operational in 2019. The state-wide legalization of table games, which is also part of the referendum, would add $50 million, eventually increasing to $55 million. But much of the benefit to the state's slots program that the legislature authorized — $74 million in fiscal 2017 and $76 million in 2019 — comes from changes that go into effect regardless of the public vote.
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Those estimates, however, do not take into account the possiblity that the state lottery commission could approve further reductions in the slots tax rate, changes that could wipe out much of the projected gains.
Moreover, nothing in the law says that the state is actually required to spend more on education than it would have otherwise. More money in the education trust fund can mean — and heretofore always has meant — that less general fund money is sent to the schools, freeing it up for other purposes. That's what happened with the lottery, keno and slots, and that's what would happen if Question 7 passes.
But what's really rich is the ad's claim that Question 7 would save taxpayers money by ending subsidies for casino owners. What it is apparently referring to is the provision in the law that would make the casinos, rather than the state, responsible for purchasing slot machines. That's a no-brainer, given that the casinos can get a better deal than the state, and it doesn't require voter approval. But calling it an end to a subsidy is blatantly misleading; the casinos would be compensated for the responsibility through lower slots tax rates.
In reality, Question 7 is a massive giveaway to the casino owners at the public expense. It guarantees steep tax cuts for most of the state's casinos and allows the possibility for even greater reductions in the future. The Department of Legislative Services estimates that the casino owners stand to reap a $525 million windfall if Question 7 passes.
The opposition's ads are, indeed, being financed by an out-of-state casino company that doesn't have Maryland taxpayers' interests at heart, and they aren't exactly paragons of truth either. But they are right about one thing: Question 7 is a bad deal for Maryland.
House panel approves gambling bill; debate could come today Measure would guarantee deeper tax cuts for some casinos
By Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun 10:19 p.m. EDT, August 13, 2012
A key House committee voted Monday night to guarantee deeper tax breaks for some Maryland casino operators, the most significant change so far to Gov.Martin O'Malley's gambling bill.
The gambling expansion measure, as amended by the Ways and Means Committee, was expected to move to the floor of the House of Delegates for debate Tuesday.
Among other changes, the Maryland Live casino at Arundel Mills would see its tax rate cut from the current 67 percent to 51 percent over the next couple of years — with an option to bring it down to 49 percent if an independent commission agreed.
That's a larger guaranteed cut than under O'Malley's bill, which would reduce the rate to 56 percent, with the option to go to 51 percent. The casino would have to take over the cost of buying slot machines and spend about half of the tax break on marketing, promotion and capital investment.
The panel made a similar tax change for the planned casino in Baltimore.
House leaders said they were optimistic they have the 71 votes needed for passage in their chamber — though individual lawmakers were being pulled aside for private meetings with leadership throughout the day.
"If we didn't think we had the votes, we wouldn't be here," House SpeakerMichael E. Buschsaid Monday night.
Getting a bill through the House has been seen as the biggest challenge for supporters of expanded gambling. Should the General Assembly approve legislation in its current special session, Maryland voters would get the final say in November.
O'Malley's proposal seeks to rewrite Maryland's fledgling gambling program to allow a sixth casino, to be located inPrince George's County, and to permit table games like poker at all six. To compensate existing casino license holders for the competition from the additional casino, the measure would reduce tax rates.
A gambling expansion bill sailed through the Senate last week, but the House has been more skeptical. Some delegates said they didn't see how they could reduce the tax rate on casino owners in a year when the General Assembly increased income taxes for some Maryland families.
On Monday, however, the Ways and Means Committee moved away from that position — and approved a bill, 13-7, that would guarantee deeper cuts than even the Senate had permitted. "We had to do some adjustment," said Del. Frank Turner, a Howard County Democrat who chairs a gambling subcommittee.
Turner said lawmakers examined financial impact studies commissioned by a work group on gambling expansion and concluded that the casinos needed the additional help. "We looked at the venues and how they'd be affected," he said.
Not all agreed. "I think we are shooting in the dark," said Del. Andrew Serafini, a Washington County Republican. He said he was "uncomfortable" voting on changes to a bill that he only had a few minutes to read through and understand.
"This is really a moving target here," he said.
It was unclear Monday night how the additional tax breaks would affect the state's bottom line. O'Malley's bill was projected to bring an additional $200 million a year in tax revenues, with about $70 million of that from the new Prince George's casino.
Under the House bill, the planned Baltimore casino, to be operated by a group led by by Caesars Entertainment, would see its tax rate go from 67 percent to 54 percent — with the option to ask the commission to cut it to 51 percent. O'Malley's draft had reduced the rate to 56 percent, with the option of going to 51 percent.
Caesars, which runs many other casinos, would get a smaller break because it can buy slot machines at discounted rates and because its Baltimore casino is further away from the plannedPrince George's Countysite, Turner said.
The House committee also agreed to let the Hollywood Casino Perryville make a case to the commission to have 5 percentage points cut from its tax rate. Under O'Malley's proposal, that casino's tax rate would drop from the current 67 percent to 61 percent to compensate for a new requirement that the company take over the cost of buying slot machines. Under the House changes, the rate could drop to 56 percent if the commission agreed.
The House panel did not change the proposed tax rates in O'Malley's bill for the state's other casinos.
The committee also approved a measure that would prohibit thePrince George's Countycasino from operating a temporary table games-only facility in advance of opening a full casino. That change was one of a handful that the Baltimore City delegation requested.
As the bill came to a final vote in the committee, it became apparent that members of House leadership were falling in line behind Busch.
Turner, who had expressed concern about a Prince George's County casino, nonetheless voted yes. "I'm chairman of the subcommittee," Turner said. "It's not just about me."
He said he believes the Senate will find the House changes acceptable.
In other changes to the bill, the committee moved to tighten a prohibition on political donations from casino owners. Under a provision added by Del. Jon Cardin, a Baltimore County lawmaker, gambling "entities," including limited liability corporations, would be barred from making gifts.
Cardin also added a provision that would require gambling interests to disclose contributions over $10,000 to influence a ballot initiative.
Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this article.
LOOK AT THE ARTICLE BELOW FROM A TEXAS NEWSPAPER IN 2010. TEXAS IS GROUND ZERO FOR THESE BUSINESS TAX CREDIT AND PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, SO IT IS GOOD TO SEE THAT ALL THESE THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS WHO ARE MOVING DEMOCRATIC STATES IN THIS DIRECTION AS HARD AS THEY CAN GO, KNEW THAT THE PROGRAM FAILED TO CREATE ANY MORE JOBS, BETTER WAGES, OR IMPROVED UNDERSERVED NEIGHBORHOODS. THEY NEW IT WAS A GOOD WAY TO MOVE PUBLIC MONEY TO PRIVATE POCKETS. PERIOD. SO, O'MALLEY, BROWN, MAGGIE MCINTOSH, CARDIN, MIKULSKI, SARBANES, VAN HOLLEN, HOYER.........ALL PROMOTING THIS FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO MOVE YOUR MONEY TO THE WEALTHY.
Report says Texas Enterprise Fund not creating jobs as promised
By JAMES DREW / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com
Published: 28 January 2010 12:46 PM
Related AUSTIN - A growing number of companies that received $363 million in public funds to move to Texas or expand are falling short of the number of jobs they promised to create, raising questions about the value of the high-profile deals in a recession-plagued economy.
Aides to Gov. Rick Perry say Texas continues to weather the nation's economic storm better than the rest of the country. But they acknowledge that the results of the incentives provided by the governor's signature jobs program, the Texas Enterprise Fund, are wavering.
A report released Wednesday by Texans for Public Justice, a research and advocacy group, says that since the recession hit in 2008, Perry's office hammered out amendments to six deals with companies so they wouldn't be in danger of violating the terms. From 2003 to 2007, Perry amended just one contract.
"His office has quietly redefined success," the study says.
On the eve of the study's release, the governor's office announced that the total of amended contracts had reached 11.
That revelation has reignited criticism of the jobs initiative at a time when he is locked in a primary battle with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
"The governor's office has been very deliberate in obscuring the actual jobs that have been created," said Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco, the House Democratic leader. "It's definitely not lived up to the propaganda."
A summary of the contract amendments released Wednesday shows that the state has reduced its job targets for those 11 companies from 6,472 to 3,058.
Among the companies is Lockheed Martin, which said it would create 800 jobs by the end of 2008 at its Houston plant in exchange for $5.5 million.
Perry's office amended the contract to give Lockheed Martin $4 million for 550 jobs created by the end of 2007 and then maintaining those until the end of 2014.
When Perry committed $35 million in taxpayers' funds in 2004 to help Vought Aircraft Industries expand, the Irving-based company said it would create 3,000 new jobs by the end of 2009.
The company said Wednesday that as of the end of 2008, 821 jobs had been created.
The contract amendment will give Vought credit for compensation and benefits paid above $53,000 per job. Neither the company nor the governor's office would say how that would affect the company's ability to reach its job commitment.
Perry aides stressed that the companies had to be in compliance with their contracts to have them amended.
The governor's office said the Texas Enterprise Fund is working as intended, "rewarding job creation and protecting taxpayer dollars in the few cases where employers do not live up to contract job commitments."
National experts question the policy of states using public dollars to chase jobs projects.
"Nationally, all we are doing is moving companies around and giving them huge incentives to do what they were probably going to do anyway," said Robert Orr, executive director of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law and a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice.
The Texas Enterprise Fund contracts enable the state to sever a contract - and recover public funds - or impose penalties on a company that fails to comply with job commitments.
The Texans for Public Justice study says that since 2003, Perry's office has terminated agreements with two companies - Hewlett-Packard deals for Austin and Houston, and Maxim Integrated Products in Irving.
As of October 2009, the state had imposed $647,100 in penalties against 11 other companies - only 1 percent of the $61.4 million that the state gave them under the Texas Enterprise Fund.
The study was based on 2008 reports that the state required recipients to file in an effort to determine whether they were complying with their Texas Enterprise Fund contracts. Texans for Public Justice said it reviewed 45 projects and only 13 deals were performing well.
On Tuesday, the governor's office announced that Texas Instruments had "successfully completed" the terms of its Texas Enterprise Fund contract.
When Perry doled out $50 million in public money so that Texas Instruments would build a new chip plant in Richardson, the company pledged to employ 1,000 people. At TI's request, the state dollars flowed to the University of Texas at Dallas to strengthen its engineering department.
TI's contract, however, was rare in that it didn't include a jobs requirement. The company has said the plant will employ 250 by the end of this year and up to 1,000 at "full capacity," but it's unclear when, spokeswoman Gail Chandler said.
About a dozen projects failed to meet their job commitments, and more would have done so if Perry's office had not amended their contracts, said Andrew Wheat, research director for Texans for Public Justice. Nine recipients are struggling with their job pledges, and some are likely to default as the state receives compliance reports for 2009, Wheat said.
"This is not particularly surprising. This is a brutal recession we are in," he said. "The only manner in which this is at all surprising is to compare the way the governor's office has characterized the economy and the Enterprise Fund. That's the weakness of having it politicized."
Dunnam said the state needs an "independent audit" of the Texas Enterprise Fund, possibly by state Auditor John Keel.
"We need someone with fiscal responsibility to tell us what has worked and what hasn't," Dunnam said.
Keel, who became state auditor in late 2004, didn't return a message seeking comment. An aide said the office has not audited the Texas Enterprise Fund and doing so would "depend on legislative interest."
MY COMMENT BELOW TO THE WASHINGTON POST COMES AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR OF BLOGGING THAT THESE PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ARE JUST ABOUT WHAT WE SEE BELOW, BUT WE DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM MAINSTREAM MEDIA....THEY PROTEST AFTERWARDS. METHINKS SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN DENMARK!
Come, come now, don't we all know that these public/private partnerships are about using taxpayer money to build private infrastructure that the taxpayers will have to pay to use......or in the case of toll roads, build infrastructure that limits access to only those who can afford them.......kind of like healthcare? Who is it that is fighting for these partnerships........O'Malley, Lt Gov Anthony Brown, and Maggie McIntosh?
I suggest if you want to be able to use the roads and bridges that your tax money pays to build......you need to vote corporate politicians out of office!
Intercounty Connector a life-changer for motorists, residents
By Katherine Shaver, Published: May 28The Washington Post
Since opening last year, the Intercounty Connector has provided thousands of Maryland motorists with their first direct, congestion-free drive between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Gleeful drivers say the highway has cut up to a half-hour off their east-west trips between the busy commercial corridors of Interstates 95 and 270. But six months after the latest stretch of the ICC opened, concerns persist about the cost of such convenience — in traffic noise, pricey tolls and projects passed over in the face of the ICC’s $2.56 billion construction costs.
What many people — fans and critics alike — notice most about the ICC is what’s missing: cars. The 18.8-mile road feels strikingly empty. During the Thursday morning rush, there were long stretches of open asphalt — a rare find in the often bumper-to-bumper Washington region. Motorists complain that so much open space makes it easy to drift over the 55-mph speed limit. The Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the ICC, is reviewing calls to raise the maximum speed.
Montgomery County Council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), a longtime ICC critic, said it’s frustrating to watch a new multibillion-dollar highway go under-used. He attributes the empty feel to high tolls, which are up to $4 one way during rush hours for cars and up to $30 one way for the largest trucks.
“You have I-270 that’s a parking lot many days carrying 10 times as many people as the ICC,” Andrews said. “It’s just a reminder of how that [highway construction] money could have been better spent.”
For Justin Brown, the six-lane road saves 10 minutes on his morning bakery deliveries to a Giant grocery store off I-95 and a Safeway off Briggs Chaney Road. Brown said he takes the ICC daily to avoid traffic jams on Route 29. He said it’s well worth the 70 cent toll to travel even one exit.
“For my business, being on time is of the essence,” Brown said Thursday during a hurried stop at a McDonald’s near Beltsville.
Harold Bartlett, the MTA’s executive secretary, said vehicle volumes are right at — and in some segments above — expectations for the six-month mark. In April, an average of 30,000 vehicles traveled the ICC’s western portion and an average of 20,000 vehicles used the eastern half on weekdays, he said. Last year, the state projected a weekday range of 19,700 to 26,900 vehicles for April, an MTA spokeswoman said. Those projections closely matched estimates made in 2009, before the first part of the ICC opened in February 2011, she said.
Bartlett said it will take at least three years for traffic to ramp up as motorists grow accustomed to using the ICC. The highway was designed to carry traffic volumes projected for 2030.
“I wouldn’t want to spend $2.5 billion for a highway that on the day you open feels full,” Bartlett said. “I want to build a highway with enough capacity for the future growth I know is going to occur.”
Bartlett said the state will raise tolls as needed to keep the ICC flowing freely.
THIS ISN'T PROGRESSIVE TAXATION....IT ISN'T EVEN DEMOCRACY-------
IF YOU WANT PUBLIC EDUCATION TO STAY STRONG, YOU WANT TO WORK AGAINST THIS ORGANIZATION AND ITS GOALS. LETTING PEOPLE DONATE MONEY TO SPECIFIC SCHOOLS FOR TAX DEDUCTIONS IS AGAINST DEMOCRATIC/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION. This is a charter school group initiative. Does this sound like simply education giving student choice? No, it's about funding choice. It is a Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC) goal. These tax credits allow the businesses to select which schools they want to donate to, meaning funding inequity, not to mention we want businesses to pay their taxes into our general government coffers!
Maryland Education Credit
P.O. Box 1987, Annapolis, MD 21404-1987 · email: info@EducationMaryland.org · phone: 443-510-4502 ~
Maryland Education Credit..... Maryland legislators have introduced new legislation to provide additional education resources to K-12 students and families. The Partnership for Student Education and Community Investment bill (SB 844 / HB 1216) will provide a tax credit to business that donate to nonprofit organizations that support K-12 public and private school students
Public Works says no to property tax increase and yes to belt tightening....whose interests do the Public Works Department work........it loves business tax credits too! So, starving the government to let business and the wealthy donate to private non-profits......we need new Public Works members don't we!
Franchot pleas for caution as panel votes not to raise Maryland property tax