Maryland Democrats worry their tax plan will secure a GOP victory in US Senate

A $1.2 billion taxes and fees bill is stuck in Maryland‘s Democratic-controlled legislature, worrying some Democratic lawmakers that approving it will hand over their narrow U.S. Senate majority to the GOP. 

U.S. Senate candidate Larry Hogan, a Republican, is running for a seat that will be vacated by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) in November. Hogan, who governed the state for two terms, was widely favored for lowering taxes in the traditionally blue state and has been doing well in the polls compared to his Democratic opponents, Rep. David Trone and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

State House and Senate budget negotiators have been unable to come to an agreement on how much revenue should be raised. The Senate wants to wait while the House is eager to get the bill approved, the Washington Post reported

“I’m not concerned about the politics,” Hogan wrote on X. “I’m concerned that a $1.3 billion tax hike would cost us jobs and hurt Maryland families already squeezed by historic inflation. Enough is enough. Let’s reject these tax hikes and send a message that it’s time to end politics-as-usual.”

Hogan is an especially formidable candidate as a Trump critic who said he does not plan on endorsing the former president in early March, a move that could allow him to garner further support from centrists and centrist Democrats in the state.

Democrats are skeptical about whether now is the best time to implement a tax and fee bill that would go toward paying for transportation and K-12 education when it could result in frustration from Marylanders during a critical election year, per the Associated Press. Democrats have the majority in the U.S. Senate, 51-49.     

“It is something that is a factor in the decision-making process for the next year,” said state Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Democrat. “The makeup of the U.S. Senate will matter for the long-term investment future for Maryland.”

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Maryland’s budget concerns were exacerbated by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last week, as the wreckage has prevented cargo ships from traveling through the area, possibly resulting in an economic impact. 

Following the state House and Senate’s inability to reach a compromise on the budget, Gov. Wes Moore (D-MD) gave lawmakers a 10-day extension to come up with an agreement.

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