During Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) State of the State Address in front of the Maryland General Assembly, he outlined his vision for the state and how it will support its citizens. As a resident, I was interested in what Governor O’Malley said because of some of the rumored policy initiatives.

Like every other state, Maryland needs to raise money in order to fulfill state current state obligations without considering new initiatives. O’Malley, who is in his second term and has not shied away from talk about seeking a federal office, put forward an aggressive agenda that includes “revenue enhancers” to pay for his proposal.

One revenue enhancer is one that was defeated last year: the repeal of the sales tax exemption for coin sales of more than $1,000, bullion, and coin shows. According to the Budget Highlights published by the governor’s office, it is estimated that repealing the exemption will bring in an addition $3 million in revenue. 

One difference between the bill introduced in 2011 and this one being proposed by the governor is that last year’s bill was introduced late in the session making it easier for delegates to prevent it from being reported out of committee. This year, the bill will introduced early, possibly this week, giving legislators the entire session to work on its provisions.

I received a note from David Crenshaw, General Manager of Whitman Expos as I did last year talking about this proposal. Once again, Whitman is saying that if the law was repealed they would likely move their shows “to a friendlier state with no sales tax.” This would effect the loss of ancillary taxes at hotels, restaurants, and other establishments in the Inner Harbor that would be generated by show participants.

While the proposed tax change is yet another example of a government not looking at the collateral damage that may be caused by this type of proposal, I do not agree with Crenshaw that now is the time to act. Since the bill has not been introduced in the legislature for consideration, referencing an issue without a bill to associate it with will not make an impact. With the limited time that the legislature is in session (four months), comments need to be concise and germane to the legislative agenda—basically a bill that has been introduced. This was confirmed to me after a conversation with one of my representative to the General Assembly.

I will oppose this bill and some of the other “revenue enhancers” that will have regressive effects on Maryland’s economy. Once the bills are introduced and assigned bill numbers, I will have something specific to tell my representatives my opposition.

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