Wet, Wetter, Wettest

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Jack Butterworth reported in the Daily Item on a recent town hall meeting with the Governor and Secretary of Education S. Paul Reville in the library of Marblehead High School. Among some good proposals such as pension reform for public employees, the speakers also called for “a graduated income tax which will take four years to achieve” and “MCAS testing reform.”

Longtime tax foe Barbara Anderson of Marblehead spoke against the graduated income tax after seeing hands go up in support of it, calling the proposal a plan “to pick us off, one tax bracket at a time.”

“The harder you work the more they steal from you. That’s why the voters defeated it at the ballot,” she said.

Butterworth noted that

After listening to Anderson’s typically intense anti-tax speech, however, [the Governor] took a different tack: “I’m afraid of you,” he told her as the audience laughed.

The Wall Street Journal today notes why we should be scared of the Governor’s love for a graduated tax — and his multi-billion dollar litany of tax increases.

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000…

As the WSJ piece notes,

Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year…

The rich should pay more in taxes, and they do. They pay by far the majority of taxes in this state and in the country. Singling them out will do little else but convince them to change residency, leaving the middle-class to pick up the tab. So much for soaking the rich. The Governor is all wet on this one.

And as far as watering down MCAS testing, all you need to do is take a look at Jamie Gass and Charlie Chieppo’s piece in the Lowell Sun today