Gov. Parris N. Glendening stopped short of using the word veto yesterday, but made it clear he will "resist" attempts by the General Assembly to push through a personal income tax cut this year.
In the strongest terms he has used, the governor said it would be imprudent and irresponsible to grant tax relief without major and permanent cuts in state spending -- actions that he said his new administration needs more time to develop.
He also cautioned against cutting taxes until the state has a better idea how much federal money it will lose as a result of actions by the Republican-controlled Congress.
The governor specifically criticized a 6 percent tax cut plan advocated by Republican lawmakers, and a separate plan advanced by House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., a Democrat from Allegany County, that would phase in a 10 percent reduction over four years. Both plans, he said, would result in deficits in future years. "I will resist any legislation that affects Maryland's fiscal future," he said.
But House Republican leader Robert H. Kittleman of Howard County said a tax cut would help the state's finances by improving the business climate.
The minority leader said the Republican caucus is strong enough now that it intends to put a tax cut proposal before the full House of Delegates this year regardless of the governor's wishes.
Mr. Glendening said he already has directed his Cabinet to begin looking for areas to make "major cuts" in state spending next year, but would not say what programs are under consideration.
He was critical, however, of House proposals to trim education and school bus aid to Baltimore and the 23 counties. Those ideas have been put on the table as a means of reducing spending enough to pay for a tax cut this year.
Spending on public schools and higher education are two areas the governor said he intends to protect. Mr. Glendening said he preferred a Senate plan to set aside $150 million this year in an account specifically earmarked for future tax cuts.