Maryland: Millionaires on the Move?

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Earlier this month, Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury Peter Franchot submitted a letter to Governor Martin O'Malley and the state's legislative leadership that, among other things, maintained that the number of millionaires filing tax returns in the state had dropped significantly. News outlets, such as the Washington Examiner, subsequently seized on his assertion, arguing that tax changes enacted over the past two years were driving the affluent out of the Free State. As this latest release from ITEP demonstrates, Maryland's millionaires may be moving, but their likely destination is a lower income group. Preliminary data from the Maryland Comptroller's Office suggest that the number of returns falling in the ranges of income below a million dollars have grown at above average rates in the past year. This, in turn, may indicate that the wealthy haven't left; rather, They've just been left with less money due to the economic downturn. Nevertheless, as ITEP's release points out, using preliminary data at this point in the tax collection process to draw conclusions about tax policy changes is a fool's errand. In 2007, preliminary returns for filers with taxable incomes over $1 million comprised less than one-third of the total returns the state ultimately received from taxpayers in that income group.

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