Maryland Democrats advanced tax increases and a multi-billion dollar education bill Saturday as the public is barred from the statehouse and the legislative session is ending early due to the coronavirus.
The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Saturday to an education plan that would cost $4 billion annually to reform the state’s public school system. To fund the plan, Democrats gave preliminary approval to tax increases on tobacco products and digital downloading, a move Republicans said is unpopular, as the economy is expected to struggle in the coming months of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m shocked that Democrats are moving forward with taxes,” Maryland Senate Minority Leader J. B. Jennings told the Daily Caller. “Now is not the time to pass tax increases.”
The state legislature announced Sunday that it will be ending its session Wednesday in response to the coronavirus. Normally, the session is from January to April. The legislature announced Thursday that there would be no public gatherings at the statehouse, meaning lobbyists, activists, and concerned citizens are unable to attend hearings.