Md. House & Senate Differ On Income Tax Hike; Gov. To Mediate A Compromise

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The Maryland House and Senate remain at odds over an income tax hike, and as political reporter Pat Warren reports, a conference committee assigned to iron out the differences is, so far, stuck.

No budging on the budget.

“We need to find common ground on cuts and revenues, and that’s eluding us at the present time,” Senate President Mike Miller said.

On the issue of cuts, the two chambers differ on how fast local jurisdictions should be forced to absorb a share of the cost of teacher pensions, which most likely won’t be resolved until agreement is reached on the income tax hike.

The Senate bill sets the income base at $3,000 and raises more than $475 million in taxes. The House version targets incomes of more than $100,000 and raises about $192 million.

“So right now, we’re bringing a mediator– the governor– in, to try to assist us with solving two plans that he really isn’t enamored of,” Miller said.

Governor Martin O’Malley wanted to eliminate select real estate and income tax deductions. But the House and Senate opted to raise the income tax instead.

“Now, we really only have only two versions– one’s the House and one’s the Senate– so they need to split the loaf, find some compromise, find some accommodation,” O’Malley said.

The General Assembly is back on Friday and then again most likely on Saturday. There’s speculation that if an agreement isn’t reached by Saturday, this session may have to be extended.

The 2012 session is scheduled to end Monday.

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