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House passes tax increases, now to look at budget cuts

The Baltimore Sun

A bill containing the individual and corporate income tax provisions and an attempt to make sure corporations pay taxes on their profits in Maryland passed the House of Delegates early yesterday, 82-55.

A separate measure increasing the sales tax and the car-titling tax rates from 5 percent to 6 percent, doubling the tobacco tax to $2 a pack, and raising the hotel tax passed 80-56.

Similar measures passed the state Senate last week. The House and Senate must now reconcile the differences between their versions of O'Malley's budget-balancing package, but legislative leaders don't anticipate difficulty.

"I think both the House and the Senate are fairly close here," said House Speaker Michael E. Busch. "There are some differences, but we're basically in the same structure the governor laid out."

Today, the House Appropriations Committee will meet to propose budget cuts expected to total $500 million. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to take up O'Malley's plan for a referendum on slot machine gambling. Both measures could go to the House floor and receive final votes as early as tonight.

The Senate is not scheduled to meet today.

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