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WBAL: Franchot Says Focus Should Be On Coronavirus, Not Tax Increase In Annapolis

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot joined WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5 to discuss the significant impact the coronavirus will have on the state's economy. He said the focus in Annapolis should on the public health concern and not a tax increase to fund the Kirwan Commission's recommendations.

"We're right at the beginning ... of a very significant economic situation in the state," Franchot told WBAL's Bryan Nehman.

"(Lawmakers in) Annapolis, for some reason, is in a bubble right now and folks are ... in a rush to increase, if you can believe it, taxes by billions," Franchot told Nehman. "As if the house is not collapsing around us right now because of the coronavirus's impact on our state's economies."

Currently, lawmakers are working to find a way to fund the Kirwan Commission's education reform recommendations. One of the proposals to do so was a tax expansion that was effectively rejected by a House panel.

Franchot said lawmakers should worry about the coronavirus first before trying to increase taxes of state residents.

Though many lawmakers support education reforms, Franchot said it is time to take a "timeout" when it comes to Kirwan and a vote to increase taxes.

Franchot said the coronavirus will have an "extraordinary impact on small businesses and invidividuals" in the state. He said one of the other big concerns of the virus is the lack of testing across the nation.

"We're going to get through it," Franchot told Nehman. "We're not like a weak state, we're a strong state."

Once the virus is brought under control, Franchot pointed out that the economy will be significantly damaged.

To help the economic impact on small businesses, usual business-related taxes that are collected in March, April and May will be delayed until June, Franchot said. On top of that, the IRS is working with the comptroller's office to extend the April 15 tax return deadline, according to Franchot.

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