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Are You Taxed Too Much?

Or is it just enough?

Maryland residents might be paying higher income taxes if a Senate budget committee compromise on how to help close the state's $1.1 billion deficit is approved.

Under this plan, income taxes would rise and a shift of pension costs to local governments would be phased in over four years, rather than one, according to CBS News Money Watch.

Local government leaders—including fellow Democrats—have spoken out against Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to shift teacher pension costs to counties, as the state searches for ways to defray costs.

"We all want our teachers to be paid what they deserve, but the state forgot to fund it," said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman Now that the state doesn't think they can afford it, rather than make the tough decisions at the state level to pay for it, they're sending the bill to counties."

That proposal would have combined the pension and Social Security costs and then split the total 50-50 with local governments.

According to the compromise recently passed by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, most Maryland taxpayers would see income tax increases, as opposed to a previous proposal by O’Malley, which raised taxes for the top 20 percent of earners, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Howard County blogger Tom Coale noted the lack of uproar over the proposed increase.

“If this were Virginia, or even Pennsylvania, I think we could presume that legislators would be terrified to vote for an income tax increase for fear of finding themselves back among the citizenry,” Coale wrote. “In Maryland, we're boiling frogs. As long as it is slow and those tax increases are spread out amongst enough 'pressure points' (i.e., pay stub, gas pump, toll roads), we're good.”

Meanwhile, O’Malley is also making a push this week to apply a 6 percent sales tax toward gas, which would go towards unfinished road projects.

Coale, the blogger, recalled a recent survey he saw asking people their perceptions on how much they were taxed. Take a similar poll below.

MG42 March 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Who is "we"? You really think if the government doesn't subsidize education 100% no one will be educated? That's dumb.
b.santos March 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I think asking this question in the abstract is a poor choice. The answer to your question would likely yield the same results if you asked "are your utility bills too high?" or "Do lawyers charge too much?" The real question is a question of balance. More on the order of, "For the services provided, are you paying too much in taxes?" Even, "How much would you pay for the services provided?" That would at least allow for a calculation and comparison of expectations v. real cost.
Daniel March 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM
But you do want there to be people around in the future to take care of you in your old age, right? In any case, the tax structure we have is just the natural response to the fact that the labor market does not, at present, arrive at a workable distribution of wealth. If we didn't compensate for those problems, we'd have people living in unhygienic tenements, and we'd still be dealing with outbreaks of cholera and tuberculosis. As O.W. Holmes said, taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. If you don't want to pay taxes, you could push for more highly regulated wages or guaranteed government jobs, but that seems more intrusive/corruption prone to me.
MG42 March 21, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Wrong Danny, the tax structure we have is the result of politics, with parents being a mobilized and politically popular special interest group. One of the many problems with this once great nation is that we overinvest in education. That's why so many people have college degrees and work at places like Starbucks. For as much as I'm paying for public schools over the course of my lifetime I think I could hire swimsuit models to take care of me in my old age!
john April 01, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I'm in the military and I'm a student and I don't live in MD most of the time and not only do I pay too much tax but I also owe at the end of the year? WTH?

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