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Bill Would Require Two-Thirds Majority Vote to Pass a Tax Increase

"It's hurting working families. It's making businesses leave the state or not come in Maryland, so it's driving up our unemployment. Taxes are a huge problem."

FREDERICK, Md. - A delegate thinks people are getting overtaxed in Maryland, and he's trying to do something about it.

The stormwater management fee, or what opponents call the "rain tax," and increases in income taxes and sales taxes are just some of the things the Maryland General Assembly passed recently.

"We've seen it with Martin O'Malley. They've raised taxes 72 times in Maryland," said Del. Michael Hough, (R) - Frederick and Washington Counties.

Hough wants to change that. He's sponsoring a bill requiring a two-thirds majority vote to pass a tax increase in the State House.

"Taxes are really driving people out of the state," Hough said. "It's hurting working families. It's making businesses leave the state or not come in Maryland, so it's driving up our unemployment. Taxes are a huge problem."

The Frederick County Delegation is divided along party lines for Hough's bill. Republican Senator David Brinkley and Delegates Kelly Schulz, Patrick Hogan, Kathy Afzali support it, and Democrat Galen Clagett and Ron Young are against it.

"I think like most people, I don't like to see tax raises, but I also don't like to cripple the state," said Young, (D) -

Frederick and Washington Counties.

Hough says 18 other states have similar laws requiring a supermajority vote to pass a tax increase.

"If you look at the gas tax and the sales tax, those hurt the working poor and the people that are at the lowest level, the lowest income level," Hough said. "The irony is the Democrats come in and they want to raise the minimum wage to help those people. These are the people they buried under taxes the last couple years."

One of the most controversial taxes is the gas tax. It went effect in July, and people are paying about four more cents a gallon at the pumps. The tax is also expected to go up another 18 cents by 2016.

"I didn't enjoy voting for the gas tax, but we're getting about $100 million worth of projects, very needed projects, in Frederick that everybody wants," Young said.

Hough will introduce the bill when session begins next month.

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