tax cut

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says the state will challenge the constitutionality of the federal tax overhaul.

Frosh announced Thursday that Maryland, along with other states, will challenge the law's $10,000 federal cap on state and local property and income tax deductions. He says the state intends to join a New York-led lawsuit.

Frosh, a Democrat, says that by eliminating the deductions, the tax law will "jack up taxes for more than half a million Marylanders."

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It's tax time as many Marylanders are filling out their forms. But next year could be more challenging with the passage last year of the tax cut package in Washington. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught up with Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot as his department kicks off the tax season.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Public Advocate says the new tax law recently signed by President Donald Trump should lead to lower water and electricity bills.

The Wilmington News Journal reported that Delaware Public Advocate Andrew Slater is charged with lobbying on behalf of ratepayers. He filed a petition Thursday with state regulators arguing that lower corporate tax rates will benefit utilities. Slater said they should pass on those savings to consumers.

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Senator Chris Van Hollen told the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce yesterday that the recent tax cut package approved by the Senate would disproportionately hit Marylanders.

WBOC reports he said that compared with other states Maryland residents would see their taxes go up with the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes.

The Senate bill does double the standard deduction for both individuals and those who file joint-married.

And, the Maryland Democrat acknowledged that some would benefit.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland Senate committee has approved a modest tax-relief plan.

The plan approved Thursday reduces Maryland's top four tax-rate brackets over five years. That affects single tax filers who make more than $100,000 and joint filers with income over $150,000. Ryan Bishop, an analyst with the state's Department of Legislative Services, says that would cut taxes between 1 and 3 percent in those brackets.

The plan also would expand the state's Earned Income Tax Credit, which is offered to low-income workers.

Attorney General website

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is proposing a middle class tax cut, as Maryland's primary in the governor's race is less than two weeks away.

Gansler on Thursday proposed the tax cut for households with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. An individual would get a $200 income tax credit for 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years. Families would get a $400 tax credit for each of those years.

Early voting began Thursday. It will continue for a week. Maryland's primary is June 24.

Governor's blog

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland is already moving toward a "two-tier" minimum wage system, where counties will set their own minimums. But Gov. Martin O'Malley says he wants $10.10 to be the statewide minimum and let counties raise it from there.

O'Malley was arguing for the wage increase Monday before the Senate Finance Committee.

He said $10.10 is "pretty modest," considering the effects of inflation since 1968. The minimum wage that year would be $10.70 in today's economy, according to one measurement of inflation. Another puts it at $9.50.