GOP Outlines Proposed Spending Cuts
House Republicans today outlined their plan to repeal the expansion of the 6-percent state sales tax to computer services, one of the more controversial measures passed during November's special session.
GOP lawmakers want to void the computer services tax, which is projected to raise roughly $200 million a year, and instead make several spending cuts in the state's budget that would total $203 million.
The proposed spending cuts include eliminating an additional 500 vacant positions in state government; slowing spending growth at community colleges and other education initiatives; and deferring proposed funding for stem cell research projects.
"We believe that this is something that can be done in a way that is not painful," Del. Gail H. Bates (R-Howard) said.
House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) said the computer services tax is unfair and that technology companies are being "penalized for no good reason."
"That's the wrong way, we believe, to do business in Maryland," O'Donnell said. "We think it was pushed through in the dark of night and we will repeal it."
Some Democratic lawmakers also oppose the tax on computer services. Last week, some 72 members of the House of Delegates -- more than half the body's membership -- signed on to a bill calling for the tax's repeal.
But it is unclear whether that bill has enough support on the influential Ways and Means Committee to make it to a floor vote.
Leaders in both chambers of the Democrat-controlled legislature have vowed to keep the computer services tax unless some other source of revenue is found to replace it.
-- Philip Rucker
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