Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

Physician Heal Thyself

One of the centerpiece’s of the David Craig for Governor campaign has been the plan to eliminate the state’s income tax.  County Executive Craig, when questioned about whether such a plan could actually be implemented, insists that all any skeptical voter need do is look at his record.

So, what is County Executive Craig’s record on reducing the income tax in Harford County? One might expect to see no local income tax at all or a county with one of the lowest local income taxes in the state.  One might also expect to see that as County Executive, Mr. Craig lowered the local income tax rate as an example of what he promises to do as Governor.

If you did, however, you would be disappointed on all counts.

According to the Comptroller of Maryland, Harford County has one of the highest local income tax (often referred to as the piggyback tax)  rates in the state at 3.06%.

Rank
County
2014
1
Baltimore City
0.032
2
Howard County
0.032
3
Montgomery County
0.032
4
Prince George‘s County
0.032
5
Queen Anne’s County
0.032
6
Wicomico County
0.032
7
Somerset County
0.0315
8
Harford County
0.0306
9
Allegany County
0.0305
10
Carroll County
0.0304
11
Charles County
0.0303
12
St. Mary’s County
0.03
13
Frederick County
0.0296
14
Kent County
0.0285
15
Baltimore County
0.0283
16
Calvert County
0.028
17
Cecil County
0.028
18
Washington County
0.028
19
Caroline County
0.0273
20
Garrett County
0.0265
21
Dorchester County
0.0262
22
Anne Arundel County
0.0256
23
Talbot County
0.024
24
Worcester County
0.0125

This rate was raised prior to County Executive Craig’s first election as Harford County Executive and has never been lowered during his tenure.

The Craig campaign states on its website that:

“As Harford County Executive, prudent budgeting enabled a nearly $50 million reduction in the property tax.  Under the Maryland Constitution, the Governor controls the budget.  As governor, I will use this authority to make actual cuts to the budget, and I will end the practice of attempting to fool voters into thinking spending is being reduced when it’s not.  Such budget games enable politicians to carry out their real agenda which is to grow their government with your money. As for taxes, fees and tolls, those that are the most damaging to individuals and our economy will be reduced or eliminated.”


Of course, the Craig campaign is right that a Republican governor would have great influence in controlling spending but seems to skirt the fact that the Democratic dominated legislature would have to accede to any tax reduction or, as Craig is promising, the elimination of the state income tax entirely.

While a record of reducing spending and property taxes is notable, it is striking that County Executive Craig has never reduced the Harford County piggyback income tax during his tenure.  This failure to address the county’s high local income tax has not been lost on some of his constituents.  In 2012, the Aegis wrote the following about the need for an income tax reduction in Harford County:

“The cuts in real estate tax rates were welcome, but it also is worth remembering Harford County has one of the higher local income tax rates among Marylandcounties.
The local income tax rate was increased a little more than a decade ago when housing values were relatively stable, the economy was weakening and the county needed revenue. What happened next, however, was the coming of the housing boom that inflated property values and, coupled with what turned out to be the unnecessary county income tax hike, left the county rolling in cash. More revenue notwithstanding, the income tax rate didn’t come back down.

As things settle out from the boom and bust, among the first items on the county government’s agenda in weeks and months to come should be a substantial reduction in the local income tax rate.”

No substantial reduction in the local income tax rate was ever made by County Executive Craig.
So why now should skeptical primary voters believe that County Executive Craig can fulfill his campaign promises to eliminate the state’s income tax?  What, on its face, seems a “pie in the sky” promise from a campaign making a hard right tack, should ring hollow as Mr. Craig’s record shows he failed to reduce income taxes in his own county.
(Red Maryland requested a comment on this story from the Craig for Governor campaign.  No response has been received.)







Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Send this to friend