Some Hagerstown residents support tax increase for wealthiest in Md.

March 26, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Tax proposal
Photos by Caleb Calhoun

Hagerstown resident William Gower did not hide his support for raising taxes on the wealthiest Maryland residents Monday.

“It’s long overdue,” he said. “They’ve been paying so little, and everybody else has been paying so much.”

Gower, 48, was among Hagerstown residents who talked about the budget package that included tax increases that the Maryland House of Delegates approved Friday. He said he thought there was a serious wealth gap in the state of Maryland.

“People want things to stay the same and to not have to pay their fair share,” he said. “People should have to pay something fair comparatively to people making less than them.”

Calvin Sheppard said he also supports the tax increases.

“Look at how the economy is,” he said. “The middle class has to keep paying, and the rich people are doing fine. Why can’t they pay more?”

The budget that passed the Maryland House of Delegates last Friday included an income tax increase for single filers making more than $100,000 a year and joint filers making more than $150,000 a year, according to a published report last Friday. However, the House has to reach an agreement with the Maryland State Senate for the budget to pass. The state is facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit.

Mark Thompson, 55, said that although he supports tax increases on wealthier Maryland residents, he thinks $100,000 is too low to start with.

“$100,000 a year isn’t a whole lot of money these days,” he said. “I might go up to between $250,000 and $500,000.”

He added, though, that he did support a tax increase on wealthier residents over other proposals to solve the budget issues.

“It’s better than a gas tax that would affect the poor people,” he said. “Starting from the bottom up is backwards. We’re hurting right now, and you don’t want to add insult to injury with the poor.”

Corina Drury, however, said she supports increasing taxes on those who make $100,000, and possibly going lower than that.

“I think you could start at $75,000, because people can live okay with just $40,000,” she said. “Wealthy people can afford tax increases.”

Drury, 38, added that she thinks people’s circumstances should also depend on how they are taxed.

“If you have children, obviously you will need more of that money,” she said. “But we could use the money from tax increases to improve our streets and cut down on crime.”

Christopher Neff said he supports the tax increases because he thinks the middle class is becoming more divided.

“The middle class seems to be becoming divided into rich or poor,” he said. “Raising taxes on the rich just makes good economic sense. You have to make up for losses in revenue.”

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