Tax Package In Trouble?

The O’Malley tax scheme will probably be inflicted upon us but it’s passage will provide hours of amusement in the meantime. And if we are lucky, it will create a bunch of new grudges and personality conflicts that will make the regular session a lot more interesting.

The first hurdle for the tax bill is the fate of the slots bill in the House. Mike Miller (see below) is threatening to kill the tax bill unless the House passes the slots bill with implementing legislation. Whether he has the huevos and the juice to do that remains to be seen but the threat has certainly played havoc with the signal-to-noise ratio.

From the Sun:

“I’ve got some senators over here who say, ‘If the top bracket goes any higher, we’re not going to vote for the bill,’ and we only had 24 votes for the tax package,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Southern Maryland Democrat. “There are going to be some sticking points and it’s going to take some compromise to get us out of here in the next few days.”

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The subtext in all this seems to be Miller insisting that the legislation be passed his way. The slots bill must pass. The implementing legislation must pass. The Senate’s tax bill has precedence. That message seems to be grating on House Majority Leader Kumar Barve who is quoted in the Washington Post as bleating: We’re going to do the best we can, and he needs to be flexible,” Barve said of Miller. “We’re two co-equal branches.”

Realistically, Miller will eventually have to relent, slots or no slots, and pass a tax package. We all know that:

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Republican who represents Frederick and Washington counties, said he hopes that tension between House and Senate Democrats over the personal income tax provisions will “kill the thing,” but he acknowledged that it is wishful thinking from the “loyal opposition.”

What we can do is make sure that these atrocities pass at a very high cost to Governor O’Malley and Mike2.

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