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The Top 10 List for Tax Changes

A few dozen activists from liberal interest groups gathered near the steps of the Maryland State Capitol today to call for an overhaul in tax policy that would go beyond closing a projected $1.7 billion budget deficit to make new investments in education, environment and other areas.

Calling the current tax system "a sin," Matthew Weinstein of Progressive Maryland said the state's wealthiest residents should take on a greater burden in funding state programs.

"Those who can afford should be asked to step up first," Weinstein said. "There are too many needs, there are too many people hurting ..... there are too many things that need to be addressed."

The activists from several groups formed a coalition called the Alliance for Tax Fairness to lobby lawmakers in Annapolis for a special session on the budget to support their goals. The alliance released a "Top Ten List of Urgent Needs," which includes 13 needs.

At the top of the list is health care access for the 1.6 million Marylanders who have no health insurance or insurance that is inadequate to meet basic needs. The alliance focused on 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, who died of a toothache earlier this year because he could not get dental care.

"Maryland is failing miserably in this regard," said Laurie Norris, an attorney working with Driver's family. "We have a big problem in Maryland and I hear that there are more Deamontes out there waiting to happen."

-- Philip Rucker

By  |  October 30, 2007; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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