Tag Archives: taxes

In miniature, July 2

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In miniature, February 7

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Taxes and the wish to leave

Gallup finds that even after controlling for other factors, there’s a “strong relationship” between total tax burden and the level of desire to leave a state [Steve Malanga, City Journal] And just a reminder of its relevance to us: “Maryland Has the 7th Highest State and Local Tax Burden” [Randolph May, Free State Foundation]

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In miniature, April 22

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Western Maryland in the Whiskey Rebellion

“In the ensuing 1794 Whiskey Rebellion…the locus for noncompliance and violence against tax agents was largely western Pennsylvania, but not entirely. Early local newspapers reported disturbances, such as the erection of 1776-style townsquare liberty poles, in Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Middletown….At one point, even Frederick was tense — rumor had ‘the Whiskey Boys’ headed that way, to empty its state arsenal of weapons.” — James H. Bready, “Maryland Rye: A Whiskey the Nation Long Fancied — But Now Has Let Vanish,” Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1990. “To a legion of fanciers, the best Maryland Rye was on a par with whatever else might be nominated as the ne plus ultra of American whiskey.”

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Cut Baltimore property taxes

For any real chance for Baltimore to bounce back economically, you need to cut its high property taxes. Reihan Salam argues the case, drawing on work by Stephen Walters (Loyola Maryland) and others. As a percentage of value Baltimore’s property taxes are not as extraordinarily high as Detroit’s, but in both cities the tax has contributed to severe problems of property abandonment.

From a Facebook discussion, Bruce Godfrey:

One other effect of Baltimore city’s high property taxes is the disproportionate concentration of nonprofit organizations in the city. These nonprofits are exempt not only from income taxes on their operations, but every asset they own is exempt from the state real estate and personal property taxes, which are more than twice those of the county surrounding it.

More: Lengthy new piece on Baltimore abandonments by Washington Post reporter Terrence McCoy never mentions property taxes. So they must not be a problem!

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“New York Creates Massive Cigarette Black Market, Wants Virginia to Fix It”

This J.D. Tuccille piece at Reason has a familiar feel, given the bid by some of our own lawmakers here in Maryland to increase cigarette smuggling, and give crime gangs a giant new source of revenue, by raising tobacco taxes further toward New York levels, and far above the levels charged a half-hour’s drive to the south. Earlier here and here.

More: Village Voice longform (“Smuggled, Untaxed Cigarettes Are Everywhere in New York City”)

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Loosie in the streets, with patdowns

In a Saturday editorial, the Washington Post calls for further hiking Maryland’s tobacco tax so as to push the state’s smuggled-cigarettes rate, currently around 20%, closer to New York state’s Bloomberg-influenced, nation-leading 57%. The New York policy has proved a highly effective way to bring petty and not-always-so-petty crime to New Yorkers’ everyday lives. With I-95, I-70 and other corridors, Maryland is already one of the most accessible states for contraband smugglers, and if the Post has its way organized gangs on the streets of Baltimore stand to get their hands on a new cash engine that, as one Brooklyn distributor is said to have boasted on wiretap, is “better than selling drugs.” What could go wrong?

P.S. The Post’s editorial never even mentions smuggling or evasion of the law, let alone bring up the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, although the Post’s own news analysts and opinion writers have repeatedly explored the role of taxes in that case. Is it too much to ask of the Post editorialists that they keep up with their own paper? [rewritten and expanded; cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]

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“Green in exchange for green”

Joseph Bottum in the Weekly Standard on the tax-credits-for-green-sermons arrangement in Prince George’s County. Earlier here.

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In miniature, November 21

  • Hogan cites “inclusive message focused on ‘fiscal responsibility and common sense,” downplaying of social issues for what’s now being widely hailed as the biggest upset victory of Election 2014 [CBS, auto-plays] “Some Democrats say they ‘got the message’ from Hogan’s election [Len Lazarick]
  • Finally, a decent chance for liquor sales reform in Montgomery County? [David Lublin, The Seventh State]
  • “Ideas for improving Maryland for small business” [Luke McGowan]
  • Home “ripped apart” in Damascus as party-raid police get frisky [Radley Balko]
  • For new chair of Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, lefty Jamie Raskin (D-Silver Spring) or trial lawyer Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County)? [Josh Kurtz, Center Maryland]
  • In Supreme Court oral argument on Maryland counties’ taxation of income earned out of state, Justice Scalia was one who seemed sympathetic to the tax collector’s side [Daniel Fisher]

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