Mizeur pledges income tax relief to most Marylanders but would raise rates on wealthy


Heather Mizeur talks to some of the children after reading to them at the Goodnow Community Center in Baltimore earlier this year. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)
November 6, 2013

Del. Heather R. Mizeur proposed an income tax cut Wednesday of up to $150 a year for the vast majority of Marylanders that would be offset by a tax hike on the state’s highest earners.

The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful also called for gradually raising Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $16.70 by 2022 as part of larger economic plan.

“We know that when we put more money into the hands of middle-class workers, it gets spent, boosting the economy,” Mizeur (D-Montgomery) said, promising she would be “a champion for middle-class Marylanders.”

Her plan also includes property tax breaks for small businesses, mandated sick leave for workers and the creation of a Cabinet-level position to advocate for regulatory reforms on behalf of the business community.

Mizeur offered her plan at a news conference in Annapolis on a day that both of her better-known Democratic rivals for governor were also visible on the campaign trail.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and his running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s), talked about combatting “cyberbullying” during a pair of appearances in Baltimore.

And Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), spent an hour at the Addison Road Metro station in Prince George’s County greeting people on their way to work.

Mizeur’s plan tweaks Maryland’s existing income tax brackets in a way that would result in savings of between $50 and $150 a year for 90 percent of taxpayers, according to her campaign.

The plan also raises the state’s top marginal tax rate from 5.75 percent to 6.5 percent. The new rate would be applied to net taxable income in excess of $500,000 for single filers and $550,000 for joint filers.

A couple with $1 million in net taxable income could expect to pay $3,479 a year more, according to the campaign.

Mizeur is hardly the first Democrat to call for raising the minimum wage. Gansler has signed onto a plan that would set a minimum of $10.10 an hour by July 2016.

Mizuer’s proposal goes several steps beyond that, gradually reaching $16.70 an hour by October 2022. At that point, she said, the state’s minimum wage would converge with the level of the Maryland’s “living wage,” the amount the state contractors are required to pay their workers.

Mizeur said she will also push for “combined reporting,” a tax collection system that is designed to bring in more revenue from large corporations that currently shift income generated in Maryland to shell corporations in lower-tax states.

At the same time, Mizeur said she would provide property tax breaks to smaller businesses, allowing them to reinvest the money in new hiring, purchases and marketing.

Her 10-point plan also includes provisions related to job training, public school construction, “clean energy” jobs and infrastructure investments.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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