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Gansler pushes last-minute tax relief plan

The Baltimore Sun

Democrat Douglas F. Gansler released a new policy proposal Thursday to give a combined $1,200 tax break over three years to families who earn less than $100,000 per year.

The attorney general announced his new “middle class tax cut” the same day early voting began in the June 24 primary.

In a statement, Gansler attacked “the current administration’s relentless parade of tax increases” passed under Gov. Martin O’Malley as squeezing the middle class.

He said his tax break would pump more than $500 million into the state’s economy, and he would pay for it with a variety of spending cuts he already proposed.

The tax relief would be given to individuals and families who earn enough to push them above the threshold for Maryland’s earned income tax credit. Qualifying individuals would get $200 a year in tax relief; families would get $400, Gansler said in a statement.

His proposed tax break would last for three years beginning in 2016.

Gansler cited a federal report released Wednesday that found Maryland’s economy showed no growth last year, the third worst record in the country after Washington D.C. and Alaska.

Gansler has consistently ran second in the polls and forcefully gone after front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in the feisty Democratic primary race, which also includes Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County.

In November, Mizeur proposed a broad-based tax cut she said would lower rates for 90 percent of Maryland families, or roughly people who earn less than $500,000, and raise taxes on the state's wealthiest residents. 

Brown has not proposed a specific broad-based tax cut and has said he does not believe it is necessary to raise taxes during the next four years. Brown has proposed exempting some veterans' retirement income from taxes and suggested a review of the state's current tax structure.

In a statement, Brown's campaign manager Justin Schall said the lieutenant governor "doesn’t believe in piece meal tax reform."

All four Republicans vying for their party’s nomination have promised to repeal some taxes passed under the O’Malley-Brown administration. Three – Del. Ron George, business executive Charles Lollar and Harford County Executive David R. Craig – promised to cut or repeal the state’s income tax.

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