Not that they've ever stopped. But Republicans in Maryland dedicated Tuesday to tax relief.
The House GOP took to the House Ways and Means Committee to pitch cutting income tax rates by 10 percent, phased in over three tax years beginning in tax year 2014.
Proponents of House Bill 326 say Maryland should put money back into the hands of residents so they can save, spend and invest. They contend the revenue lost by slicing income tax rates - estimated by the Department of Legislative Services to reach near $800 million in fiscal 2017 alone - will be made up by increased spending and investing.
Ben Wilterdink, a legislative analyst for the American Legislative Exchange Council's Center for State Fiscal Reform, pointed to Maryland's 44th worst ranking for "most competitive personal income tax rate" in "Rich States, Poor States," an economic outlook ranking report published by ALEC.
From 2001 to 2011, Wilterdink said, the nine states without a personal income tax outperformed nine states with the highest personal income taxes in total economic growth, population growth and revenue growth.
But others weren't convinced.
Del. Frank Turner, D-Howard, vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee, asked Wilterdink whether ALEC's study considers "quality of life." Before Wilterdink said the study did not take that into account, Turner cited Maryland's high standing in education and other sectors that require spending to stay intact.
"Do you factor into this the quality of life factor? The money they spend on education and the kind of society they're creating? Do you factor that into your formula when you say, well you know, all these states have low income tax?," said "Quality of life does mean something. Whether or not my roads are fixed, I still go to North Carolina (where there is no income tax). I can tell you where dirt roads are today. I don't want to drive down dirt roads."
The GOP's plan would lower rates across each tax bracket by different amounts. For example, as of today single earners of $3,001 to $100,000 and couples earning $3,001 to $150,000 have their income taxed at a 4.75 percent rate.
If enacted, the plan would reduce the rate for both single earners of $3,001 to $100,000 and couples earning $3,001 to $150,000 from 4.75 percent to 4.59 percent in calendar 2014, 4.43 percent in 2015 and 4.28 percent in the third and final phase after Dec. 31, 2015.
But single Marylanders who make in excess of $250,000 and couples who make more than $300,000 would see their personal income tax rate fall even more, from the current 5.75 percent to 5.18 percent by 2016.
Some on the Ways and Means Committee questioned that part of the plan.
Del. Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, asked why the wealthiest Marylanders saw a 0.57 percent drop in their rates over three years, while Marylanders who earned less saw a smaller drop. The rate for those with a taxable income of $1 to $1,000 drops from 2 percent to only 1.8 percent over three years.
"Essentially, the tax cut you're proposing would be much more beneficial to the wealthiest families in Maryland than to the working families," Luedtke said.
Luedtke also argued Maryland's economy was much different from some states that don't have a personal income tax, like Alaska.
"The reality is Alaska has no personal income tax because they have a natural resource base that we will never, ever have," Luedtke said. "For Maryland's economic growth, we need infrastructure, we need human resources and we need to technology to increase productivity. All those things cost money."
Also on Tuesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Harford County Executive David Craig announced a $2.55 billion tax-cutting plan that he would install if elected governor. The plan would put Maryland on a track to eliminating its personal income tax entirely.
In the first phase of Craig's three-phase plan, tax brackets would be lowered across the board to 4.25 percent as of 2016. The personal exemption would also increase from the current $3,200 to $5,000
The second phase of Craig's plan would reduce the rate so all Marylanders would be paying a rate of no more than 3 percent. The exemption in the second phase would go from $5,000 to $6,000.
Craig said the state would be able to afford the tax cuts through a variety of budget reforms reviewing department and agency operations, coordinating offices of the Governor and other moves.
Craig also promised an across-the-board budget cut of 3 percent if he is elected governor, but declined to offer details on how the state could afford it.