Md. Lawmakers Take Sides In Debt Debate

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers take sides in the debate on raising the U.S. debt ceiling with the focus on revenue and spending cuts.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports two Baltimore-area congressmen offer their points of view.

The bills are in, the due date is near, money is short and you’re as deep in debt as you can legally get.  You need to raise the debt ceiling in order to stay current but the partner in this household won’t agree unless steps are taken to keep this from recurring.  Do you raise revenue?  Do you cut spending?  Or both in combination?  And where, how much and on who?  Team Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives lines up along party lines.

“Let’s get some revenue in there because we need that,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings.

“We need to control spending,” said Congressman Andy Harris.

“The Republicans are saying cut, cut, cut but they don’t want to deal with any kind of revenues,” Cummings said.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t vote for a tax increase.  We need spending controls right now,” Harris said.

Cummings thinks the Republicans are guilty of gamesmanship.

“I think this is also about the next election.  I think they are trying to make sure that this president has a hard way to go,” Cummings said.

Harris thinks Democrats are using scare tactics.

“It absolutely is and look, I hope the American people look past that,” Harris said.

And how will it end?

“We have plenty of income coming in to pay for Social Security, Medicare, our veterans and our interest on our debt.  We will not default after Aug. 2,” Harris said.

“I would say, `Stay tuned.’  I know that may not give people a lot of comfort but I believe in my heart this will be resolved,” Cummings said.

With less than three weeks left to the deadline, both sides are scrambling for backup plans.

Moody’s Investors’ Service is threatening to lower the U.S. credit rating, citing a rising risk that the government will default on its debt.

More from Pat Warren
  • Mike

    If our elected officials allow the US to default as of 8/2 and people expecting checks from SSI do not get them after having money removed from their checks for years, that would be a crime.
    First all of the elected officials should lose their jobs up to and including the president.
    Second, any person that paid into a system with payroll deductions for years and do not recieve their benefit should sue the government for embezzlement. That money deducted was earmarked for a specific benefit and should be there when needed.
    Get your s>>t together in DC or be prepared to lose your jobs!!!!

  • Steven Cville

    People be fools to think that defaulting on loans would stop them from getting S.S. checks! The raising of the allowable debt is to increase the amount we owe China and others more then anything.
    A business can not survive spending more then it makes, how could a country do it? Time to stop spending more then they bring in. You can’t keep going after the Rich because they are the ones that create the jobs. Maryland imposed a Millionaires tax a few years ago in the hopes of getting more of their money and look 30% have moved to VA. and PA. to avoid it, now the state gets less then before from them!

  • OMalleyCoward

    oh no if you cut entitlements maybe the 50% of people in baltimore without a job will be motivated enough to get a job and stop selling drugs and killing each other.
    the debt ceiling has already done so much for maryland, yeah!

    learn to balance your budget! this goes for maryland and our federal government.

    it is easy to be a politician when you spend others money, now democrats have to pick which deadbeat voter to offend and they are running scared!

  • OMalleyFool

    Millionaires Go Missing
    Maryland’s fleeced taxpayers fight back

    Here’s a two-minute drill in soak-the-rich economics:

    Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

    One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

    No doubt the majority of that loss in millionaire filings results from the recession. However, this is one reason that depending on the rich to finance government is so ill-advised: Progressive tax rates create mountains of cash during good times that vanish during recessions. For evidence, consult California, New York and New Jersey (see here).

    The Maryland state revenue office says it’s “way too early” to tell how many millionaires moved out of the state when the tax rates rose. But no one disputes that some rich filers did leave. It’s easier than the redistributionists think. Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, notes: “Marylanders with high incomes typically own second homes in tax friendlier states like Florida, Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia. So it’s easy for them to change their residency.”

    All of this means that the burden of paying for bloated government in Annapolis will fall on the middle class. Thanks to the futility of soaking the rich, these working families will now pay Mr. O’Malley’s “fair share.”

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