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Md. GOP gubernatorial hopeful Lollar touts idea of eliminating the personal income tax

Maryland Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charles Lollar highlighted his idea to eliminate the state’s income tax during a fundraiser Tuesday with supply-side economics guru Arthur Laffer.

Lollar, a Charles County businessman, has proposed phasing out Maryland’s personal income tax, which generates more than $8 billion a year in revenue for the state’s roughly $39 billion budget.

Lollar said he is confident that the loss in revenue can be offset by the economic impact of recruiting more businesses to the state. During an interview, however, he provided no details, including a sense of how quickly the tax would be phased out.

“Maryland needs some bold ideas,” Lollar said, adding: “I’m not willing to get into the weeds and specifics now.”

He pledged to release a detailed plan prior to the general election in November and said he is hopeful he can do so before the Republican primary in June.

Laffer, a former member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Board, joined Lollar at a fundraiser Tuesday at the Army and Navy Club in the District.

Lollar’s income-tax plan is far more aggressive than anything being contemplated by Republicans in the General Assembly this year.

House Republicans have proposed a 5 percent cut in personal income tax rates, phased in over the next three years.

“We’re focused on the short-term,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County), who said Lollar’s idea is a good long-term goal. Szeliga has endorsed the rival GOP campaign of Harford County Executive David R. Craig.

The GOP primary also includes Del. Ronald A. George (R-Anne Arundel) and Larry Hogan, a former Cabinet secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) .

Currently, seven states have no taxes on personal income.

House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) said Lollar needs to explain how he would pay for his plan.

“Basically, he’s saying we can have hot-fudge sundaes for breakfast, but he won’t tell us what exercises we have to do to work it off,” Barve said.

In a statement, Lollar criticized Barve for having “nothing serious to say.”

“Barve is an example of the real problem in Annapolis: career politicians doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results,” Lollar said.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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