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About 20 percent of taxpayers will see smaller state income tax refunds, under a budget proposal released by Gov. Martin O'Malley. The plan, revealed earlier today, is designed to close the state's $1 billion budget gap.
Some of the tough choices include requiring counties to pay half the cost of teacher pension funding and asking certain families to pay more in taxes. O'Malley says if his plan is approved, 2 out of 10 residents will get smaller refunds.
"We're phasing out exemptions for higher earners, reduced from $2,400 to $1,200 per person for families earning from $150,000 to $175,000 and exemptions are eliminated for families above $175,000," says O'Malley.
O'Malley also outlined a $15.3 billion general fund that includes about $311 million in new revenue, but spent much of the hour-long presentation defending hard choices.
"I don't like asking for this, I don't like doing this, but there are difficult things we need to ask of one another in difficult times and this is one of them," says the governor.
The proposal heads to the General Assembly which must approve the budget before the session ends April 9.
Modern-day oyster populations in the Chesapeake are dwindling, but a multi-millennia archaeological survey shows that wasn't always the case. Native Americans harvested the shellfish sustainably.