- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a state budget package and send its proposal to the House.

Senators on Wednesday debated the plan, which would call for income-tax hikes on households making more than $3,000 a year in an effort to trim the state’s $1.1 billion structural deficit.

Lawmakers passed an amendment late Wednesday that would further raise income taxes on residents making more than $500,000 by applying the state’s maximum 5.75-percent tax rate to every dollar they make.

Traditionally, state income-tax rates are applied to dollars made within each tax bracket. The Senate passed the amendment by a 26-20 vote.

The $35.9 billion budget package would also shift $68 million in pension costs onto counties as part of a four-year phase-in that would eventually require counties to pay more than $250 million a year.

Senate lawmakers adopted changes to the plan made last week by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee but were not expected to make any more substantive changes Wednesday night, as majority Democrats rejected numerous Republican amendments to cut spending and ease tax increases.

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