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Gov. Martin O'Malley rings up $9.5 billion in new taxes

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Local,Maryland,Andy Brownfield,Taxes

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has approved 40 new and increased taxes and fees since he took office in 2007 that are projected to cost Marylanders $9.5 billion through fiscal 2014.

"Nobody expected the total impact to be this staggering, not even me," said Larry Hogan, founder of conservative group Change Maryland, which compiled a report on the increases.

O'Malley's office says the increased revenue helped buoy a state ravaged by the recession and reeling from his predecessor.

Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich raised taxes and fees 31 times to a tune of $3.3 billion in his four years in office. He left Maryland with a $1.7 billion budget shortfall as the recession hit.

"When our administration took office in 2007, too many of our public schools were underperforming, our state was facing a future of ever deepening structural deficits and college tuition for Maryland families had been jacked up to 40 percent," said O'Malley spokeswoman Takirra Winfield. "Gov. O'Malley has made the better choices to move our state forward."

Since taking office, O'Malley's administration has eliminated the structural deficit and lowered tax rates on 86 percent of Marylanders, Winfield said.

Here is a list of the tax and fee increases under Gov. O'Malley:

• Handgun licensing fees and other firearm registration fee

• Electricity rate increase due to higher expense of power produced by offshore wind farm

• Vehicle registration surcharge (Transportation package)

• Maryland Transit Authority fare increase (Transportation package)

• Indexing gas tax to increase with the consumer price index (Transportation package)

• Applying wholesale tax to gasoline sales (Transportation package)

• Income tax increase on Marylanders earning more than $100,000

• Reduction of personal income exemption for Marylanders earning more than $100,000

• Recordation tax applied to indemnity mortgages

• Increase tobacco tax rate from 15 to 70 percent for certain products

• Double death certificate fee

• Repeal of the sales tax exemption on penalty charges assessed on the late return of gas cylinders

• Double Bay Restoration fee ("Flush tax")

• Require counties to collect Storm Water Management Fee ("Rain tax")

• Increase Weights and Measures Registration fee

• Double Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund Fee

• New fee for major modifications under the Wetland Water Way Program

• Hospital assessment

• Alcoholic beverage sales tax increase from 6 to 9 percent

• Vehicle dealer processing charge

• Double vanity plate fee

• Double vehicle certificate of title fee

• Out of State Attorney Admission fee

• Increase in contractor licensing and renewal fees

• Double birth certificate fee

• Eliminates exemption of premium tax on worker's compensation

• Bridge and tunnel toll increases

• Fishing license and registration fees

• Speed cameras in school and work zones

• Increase the top marginal tax rate from 5.5 to 6.25 percent ("Millionaire's tax"), since expired

• Computer services tax

• New income tax marginal rates from 4.75 to 5.5 percent

• Increase sales tax from 5 to 6 percent

• Increase state corporate income tax from 7 to 8.25 percent

• Increase cigarette tax from $1 to $2 per pack

• Increase vehicle titling tax from $23 to $25

• Vehicle excise tax increase

• Electronic gambling tip jar tax

• Real property transfer tax

• Elimination of Captive Real Estate Investment Trusts

abrownfield@washingtonexaminer.com

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