Maryland Budget Bill Approved with Tax Raise to cover the Budget Deficit

Maryland lawmakers gave the state’s $63 billion budget bill its final approval. The bill includes some tax and fee hikes to help pay for transportation and education.

The majority of the members in the Maryland General Assembly are Democrats, who stuck to Gov. Wes Moore’s $63 billion budget plan for the fiscal year that starts on July 1. As a Democrat, Moore put forward a balanced budget plan in January that did not include any tax hikes.

There was a vote in both the House and the Senate on Friday for the budget bill and a reconciliation measure that works with it to balance the budget.

After the House and Senate talked about it, they added some fees linked to transportation that will bring in $252 million over the budget year. As part of the deal, ride-hailing services will have to pay a new fee of 75 cents per trip across the whole state.

The cost of registering a car will also go up, and there will be an extra charge of $23 to help cover the rising costs of the state’s emergency trauma system. A $62.50 surcharge will be added to zero-emission electric cars to help make up for the gas tax money their owners don’t pay. Plug-in electric vehicles will also have a $50 surcharge.

Several tax increases on tobacco, including an extra $1.25 on a pack of cigarettes, will help bring in about $91 million for K–12 education. However, this amount is expected to drop over time because fewer people will be smoking as per AP News.

The money will mostly go to transportation costs and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s K–12 education spending plan. This plan gradually adds more money to preschool programs, and teacher salaries, and helps schools that are having trouble.

After the Senate passed its budget bill last month, the House came up with a $1.3 billion plan to get ahead of expected increases in education costs and transportation funding gaps. Besides taxes, fees, and tolls, it had a plan to change the way corporations pay taxes and make online gaming legal.