A Dog’s Breakfast

Yesterday we commented briefly about O’Malley taking some few minutes to attempt to bamboozle seniors about how they are going to be bent over the coffee table by O’Malley’s tax plans.

Today we have more details.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced a pair of tax breaks yesterday designed to help senior citizens and low-income families at a time when his administration is seeking to raise several other taxes to help close a projected $1.7 billion budget shortfall.

Appearing at an assisted-living facility in Prince George’s County, O’Malley (D) said he would ask the General Assembly to double a $1,000 income tax exemption available to taxpayers 65 and older.

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O’Malley also proposed a $50-a-year sales-tax rebate that could be claimed by households with gross annual incomes up to $30,000. As part of his larger revenue package, O’Malley is advocating an increase in Maryland’s sales tax from 5 to 6 percent and would apply the tax to several services that are currently exempt, including tanning salons and health clubs.

This kind of program proceeds from the conceit that the people listening to it are profoundly stupid. The tax increases that we know about increase existing sales taxes by 20% while imposing a new sales tax on a variety of goods and services that currently aren’t taxed. We know the registration fees on cars will go up. We know the gas tax will go up. So a family earning less than $30K is going to pay more for gas, more for rent, more for virtually everything they buy and get a $50 rebate.

The elderly will get less than that. Most Marylanders over 65 earn too much money to get the rebate. They will be paying higher prices and, depending on what part of their retirement income comes from tax free investments (like savings bonds) or disability payments the $1,000 income tax exemption will not come close to offsetting the costs.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he considers the proposed tax breaks “laudable” but noted that “the more exemptions you have, obviously the more you’re going to have to raise to address the deficit.”

Exactly. At some point Governor O’Malley needs to stop pandering and blowing smoke and get serious. The odds of that happening are pretty slim.

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