Smigiel Introduces Bill to Take Tax Increases to Referendum

Governor O’Malley’s promise to submit a budget without a tax increase reached its expiration date before the ink on the budget book was dry. Now we learn that O’Malley may have to raise the state property tax by 56 percent to make up for all debt his administration has incurred papering over the deficits it has rung up.

The property tax goes towards Maryland’s debt service. O’Malley’s replacement of cash with bond debt to fund general fund spending increases has pushed the state perilously close to the state’s debt limit of 8 percent of revenues. Over the next five years state debt service is expected to exceed $1 billion while property tax revenues will decline to $715 million according to a report by the state’s Department of Legislative Services.

During the election, O’Malley lambasted Bob Ehrlich for hiking the property tax by a similar amount.

If Delegate Mike Smigiel (R-Cecil County) has his way, Marylanders would have the right to repeal any property tax increase through referendum. Smigiel has introduced a bill which would add to the state constitution the right of the people to repeal any legislative appropriation. If the bill passes the General Assembly it would go on the ballot for the November 2012 election.

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The committee hearing for the bill is set for today at 1:00 pm, you can view the hearing online here.

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