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Md. Officials Talk Up Popularity of Tax Amnesty

Given that the subject was tax delinquents, it seemed a tad ironic that Gov. Martin O'Malley's event this morning was the rare one of his that started on time.

With a row of small businesses in Dundalk as a backdrop, O'Malley (D) was flanked by both presiding officers of the General Assembly, as well as several other elected officials, all there to talk up the state's tax amnesty period, which begins Tuesday.

The amnesty, which runs through Oct. 30, is the result of legislation passed during this year's session and allows Marylanders who owe back taxes to pay free of penalty and at half the interest accrued.

With the state grappling with budget shortfalls, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) described the program as a "win-win for everybody." And he was among several speakers who stressed the widespread, bipartisan support the bill enjoyed in the General Assembly.

Perhaps that was because of the recent assessment of Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who is tasked with implementing the program. Franchot called it a "get-out-of-jail-free card for all of the tax cheats in Maryland who have been ducking their responsibilities." He was represented at the event by a deputy.

Miller said that the bill passed the Senate with only two dissenting votes, from members he called "professional naysayers": Sens. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) and Alex X. Mooney (R-Frederick).

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) noted that only one member of the House of Delegates voted against the bill, adding that he didn't think it was necessary to name him. We're here to help: It was Del. Nathanial T. Oaks (D-Baltimore).

By John Wagner  |  August 31, 2009; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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The economy is tough all over. As usual the people who struggle and keep current with taxes get screwed again. I believe everyone at one time or another needs a break and should get one from time to time when they stumble.
I don't believe the people who are always behind should get the break and the window for the break should not be as long as 2 months. 2 to 4 weeks is plenty of time to at least apply. If they have been a long time past due then sell the property at sherriff's sale and get all the money owed. The poor working souls again gets no reward for doing things as expected and on time

Posted by: richmd2dc | August 31, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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