A group of Republican freshmen from the Maryland House of Delegates occupied part of the hallway between their chamber and the Senate on Wednesday morning, sporting buttons proclaiming “We Are The 96%.”
Their message was that Marylanders are already paying too much in taxes and that proposed increases from Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) should be stopped. The 96 percent was a reference to a poll finding the GOP freshmen say backs up their case.
“After a year in Annapolis, we realize that this place is run by taxaholics,” said Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) during a news conference conducted by the group.
Szeliga distributed a poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies showing that nearly 96 percent of Marylanders say they pay “too much” in taxes or “about the right amount.”
Those who said “about the right amount” were a significant share of that number: about 33 percent. In the poll, about 4 percent said they are paying too little in taxes.
O’Malley has proposed increases in several taxes and fees in next year’s budget, including adjustments that would increase income taxes paid by about 20 percent of higher-earning Marylanders.
The governor has also proposed increases in the so-called “flush tax,” in taxes paid on cigars and smokeless tobacco and on Internet purchases. A transportation plan that has yet to be released is also expected to raise taxes on gasoline consumption.
At a news briefing last week, O’Malley defended the measures as the “fairest way” to help close a budget shortfall and fund his priorities.