Monday’s special session in Annapolis got off to a rough start with Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin asserting that the public had little time to see the bills under consideration that would raise taxes by $512 million this year.
He said the public had little time to sign up for hearings of the Senate Budget and Tax and House Appropriations Committees because the bills were not made available on the Maryland General Assembly website until late Friday.
“There is no transparency in this process,” Pipkin told the Spy, after a motion was killed to extend the special session one more day.”You had to signup by noon Friday for a bill that wasn’t available until after 3 p.m. The public can’t participate in a process when they don’t know the product. My attempt was to say ‘let’s wait a day…and give the public a chance to participate now that the bills have been introduced.'”
The morning session began with a Republican press conference to lament the $512 million in tax increases on the table to meet the administration’s priority spending goals for fiscal 2013.
GOP lawmakers said the budget was balanced on April 9, the last day of the regular session, with $700 million in spending increases over last year.
More taxes would just put a greater burden on working families, Republican leaders said.