Hundreds of Millions in Maryland State Tax Giveaways

Baltimore, March 25, 2013 – Today Progressive Maryland Education Fund released a new report:
”Giving Away the Store: Giveaways to Those Who Need Them Least in the Maryland State Tax Code.”  

As the Maryland General Assembly winds up its work on the state’s FY 2014 budget, the report finds that legislators have left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by leaving untouched a number of egregious and unnecessary tax breaks.

Progressive Maryland Education Fund has analyzed state documents and is releasing this report to better inform the public and policymakers about the policy options available to Maryland.  

The new report is an update of an earlier similar report released in 2004.  Both reports are available on the Progressive Maryland Education Fund website [ ].     

Key findings in the report:

Unjustifiable tax giveaways to wealthy individuals and big corporations in the Maryland state tax code cost ordinary taxpayers at least 215 million annually from 2007-2012 and perhaps as much as 336 million.  (page 1 of the report)

Since Progressive Maryland Education Fund’s first “Giving Away the Store” report in 2004, three of the tax loopholes identified in that report have been legislated out of existence, bringing in more than 50 million a year in badly needed revenue. (page 3)

While recent revenue enhancements have enabled Maryland to climb out of the basement in the national rankings, it still ranks in 45th place among the 50 states for the level of public revenues and the size of government.  Maryland’s status as a low-revenue, small-government state explains why the state has long lacked the resources to address critical needs in education, health care, aid to the disabled, and many other areas.  (page 4)

The state’s failure to enact Combined Reporting cost Maryland 299 million in lost revenue for tax years 2006-2010, according to a detailed study by the Maryland Comptroller.  (page 5)

While the Maryland Chamber of Commerce continues to mislead legislators that Combined Reporting would worsen a supposedly high business tax burden, the leading national business consortium on state taxation, the Council on State Taxation, has found that Maryland actually has the most business-friendly state tax system in the nation.  (page 6)

Progressive Maryland Education Fund Director Kate Planco Waybright commented, “Last Friday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted 7-6 to kill Combined Reporting for another year, leaving an estimated 60 million a year on the table.  Combined Reporting is the law in 24 states, and it has passed the House of Delegates seven times, including in 2007, when it was part of the Governor’s tax reform package.

The public should be aware of this at a time when underfunding has left tens of thousands of working Maryland families on waiting lists for child care vouchers.

Thanks to lack of resources, over 100,000 Maryland children on Medicaid don’t see a dentist every year, six years after the tragic death of Deamonte Driver taught us all the high cost of failing to invest in children’s dental health care.” 

Progressive Maryland Education Fund (PMEF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that researches and reports on public policy issues of concern to Maryland working families.

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