Taylor pushes tax cut for Maryland

November 15, 1996


Staff Writer

FORT RITCHIE - Casper R. Taylor Jr. said cutting Maryland's income tax makes too much sense.

But the speaker of state House of Delegates admits it's not that simple.

"We need to talk about Maryland's whole tax system before we talk about personal income tax," Taylor, an Allegany County Democrat, said during a breakfast speech to about 100 conservatives, business leaders and politicians.

Taylor called the income tax "a premier impediment to competition in the state of Maryland" in continuing his call for a 10 percent cut spread over three years. He said the reduction would create more investment in Maryland, cause more businesses to move to the state and create more jobs.


But budget projections show the tax cut would mean $500 million in lost state revenues when fully implemented. Ideally, those losses would be offset by cuts made to welfare programs, the need for which will be reduced because of new jobs created by the tax cut, Taylor said.

"But I'm going to stand here and say, not on my watch are we going to lose our soul, lose our compassion, and destroy a responsible social welfare safety net," he said.

For that reason, the real debate during the upcoming General Assembly session might center on how the state will make up for the lost revenues. Taylor already has discussed expanding the state's 5 percent sales tax to include items currently not taxed.

"I don't think that debate will end this winter and result in a consensus," he said.

Taylor outlined several other goals he has for the session, which will likely include attempts for various regulatory and environmental reforms that failed during the previous session.

"A lot of this should have been done last year and we can all take some of the blame why it didn't get done," he said.

Particularly frustrating to Taylor was the failure of the so-called "brownfields" legislation, which would have permitted the restoration and reuse of contaminated industrial sites.

The bill died on the final day of the session, mostly due to opposition from environmentalists.

"The worst mistake we can make on any of these issues is to let the extremists drive the bus - whether the extreme is on the right or on the left," he said.

Other deregulation efforts were derailed when Gov. Parris N. Glendening issued executive orders similar to the proposed legislation. But Taylor argued that a law would carry much more weight than a governor's order.

"That's a major mistake. Corporate America is not going to invest by trusting executive orders," he said.

Taylor dismissed the suggestion that a tax cut and easing regulatory restrictions were simply overtures to big business.

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