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New tax bracket called ‘disgraceful’

The Democrat-controlled Senate gave its approval to a package of four bills that relate to the state budget, but several senators voiced their disdain for a measure in SB 523, which creates a new tax bracket for individuals earning more than $500,000 annually.

Those making between $500,000 and $1 million a year would be taxed at 5.75 percent from the first dollar earned — costing such individuals and couples about an additional $2,500 a year, the Associated Press reported.

“These tax increases are job killers,” said Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore. Business owners will be less likely to set up shop in Maryland because of the high tax rate, taking away potential jobs, he said.

What’s surprising is that a few Democrats — including the Senate’s presiding officer — thought Pipkin might have a point. SB 523 passed, 26-20, but eight Democrats voted against it.

“A lot of my colleagues, my Democrats, didn’t like the additional bracket for $500,000,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert and Prince George’s. “There may be some truth” to the assertion that the tax could prevent businesses from moving to — or staying in — the state, he added.

Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, chose not to mince words in his criticism of the tax.

“That provision in that bill is disgraceful,” Zirkin said. “That’s class warfare … Today, I am ashamed to be a Democrat.”