Maryland Democrats, Chamber of Commerce line up for first Tax Increase
Maryland’s Senate president said Monday he’s confident Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill designed to ensure that third-party travel websites pay all of the state’s sales tax is headed toward an override vote.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said in an interview with The Associated Press that there are enough Senate votes to override the Republican governor’s veto when the legislative session begins next month. Miller noted opposition to the governor’s decision from Marriott Chairman Bill Marriott and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
You may remember the Travel Tax from last year, where Grover Norquist correctly identified it as “a continuation of the crony-tax policies of the O’Malley-Brown administration.” It’s being pushed by noted nice guy Rich Madaleno, and will increase the taxes collected on hotel rooms on individuals who use third-party services to book their rooms.
However, it isn’t only Maryland’s Democrats who are lining up to raise your taxes. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is lining up in support of the tax hike as well.
Kathleen Snyder, president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, wrote Miller this month that online travel companies only remit a portion of the state’s 6-percent sales tax actually collected from the consumer, based on the lower, discounted price that they paid the hotel for the room. She wrote that the measure simply clarifies that the state’s tax code should apply in the same way to online travel companies as it does to all other retailers in the state.
“Enough is enough,” Snyder wrote. “The General Assembly should override Governor Hogan’s veto … and end the unfair multimillion dollar subsidies being paid annually by Maryland tax payers to those out-of-state (online travel companies.)”
To consider collecting taxes on a transaction as opposed to the fair market value of a room a “subsidy” is a bit of verbal jujitsu from Ms. Snyder. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely surprising coming from the Maryland Chamber of Commerce however, whose credentials as a “pro-business” organization were called into question by our very own Greg Kline last year when Ms. Snyder was replaced the first time by a failed Democratic candidate, and when the Chamber’s Board of Directors was outed as a tremendous source of Democratic campaign contributions. The Chamber cut a number of deals with the O’Malley Administration, including on one unemployment insurance before reversing course at the last minute.
Despite the fact that Maryland voters rejected higher taxes in 2014, Maryland Democrats are prepared to override Governor Hogan’s veto to raise taxes on Maryland’s hard-working middle and working class families. It’s unfortunate they they are planning to do so, and even more so that an allegedly “pro-business” organization such as the Maryland Chamber of Commerce continues to give Maryland Democrats cover to hurt Maryland’s business climate.