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O’Malley: ‘Strong aversion’ to higher property tax

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ANNAPOLIS —- There’s a lot of tax talk these days in Annapolis, where state officials are looking for possible new taxes to close a looming budget deficit.But Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday there’s one tax he has little interest in raising: property tax.

“I’ve always had a strong aversion to the property tax. I think people are getting hurt by that,” said O’Malley, who noted that rising assessments mean higher property taxes even if the rate isn’t raised.

O’Malley said he couldn’t rule out higher property taxes, but that he has a “strong desire” not to touch them. He told reporters that his administration held talks Wednesday about closing tax loopholes that allow come corporations to avoid paying state income tax.

“I asked for their help in identifying loopholes, loopholes that allow 40 percent of the largest corporations to pay no income tax,” he said.

Comptroller Peter Franchot released a report earlier this week that found many of Maryland’s largest for-profit companies paid no corporate income taxes in 2005.

While O’Malley’s staff looked at taxes Wednesday, a left-leaning public interest group, Progressive Maryland, held a rally in Annapolis calling for higher taxes, not deep cuts, to fix the state’s looming $1.5 million budget deficit.

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