By the Editorial Board, May 12, 2014
With varying degrees of aggressiveness and specificity, all seven candidates for governor are pledging to change Maryland’s tax code. The ideas range from eliminating the income tax altogether (Republicans David Craig and Charles Lollar) to raising taxes on millionaires and multi-state corporations to pay for cuts for small businesses and most individuals (Democrat Heather Mizeur). But for all the talk among the Republicans and at least one Democrat (Douglas F. Gansler) of the dozens of tax and fee hikes approved under Gov. Martin O’Malley, there has been little attention paid to the tax that has gone up the most during the past eight years: the sales tax.
An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that Maryland’s sales tax falls much more heavily on lower-income residents than any other major levy. The poorest 20 percent of Marylanders — those who earn on average $12,600 a year — spend 2.4 percent of their income on the sales tax in 2013, whereas the top 1 percent, with an average income of $1.4 million, spend 0.4 percent of their income on it.
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