Open for business sign

Hogan, business groups favor small business property tax break

Part of Gov. Larry Hogan’s promise to make Maryland “open for business” is a bill exempting many small businesses from the personal property tax collected by the counties.

The exemption would be given to businesses with less than a $10,000 property value, on items such as equipment, furniture, computers, tools and inventory. It applies to more than half of Maryland’s small businesses and will result in an estimated $7 million in tax relief.

Bottled water by caterina clemente on Flickr

Health advocates want state to stop taxing bottled water

Health advocates moved to make water the “default drink of Maryland” by submitting a bill that would repeal the 6% sales tax on bottled water.

Some health foundations spoke before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in support of SB 574 on Wednesday, where legislators identified the elephant in the room -- a possible general fund loss of $20 million annually.

Lawyers mall in snow

Major change in pension funding proposed, eliminating extra payments

The legislature's staff is recommending that lawmakers make another major change in pension funding, eliminating extra payments into Maryland's underfunded pension system and returning to full actuarial funding.

The proposal would save $70 million in next year's budget and $2 billion over the next 10 years. But it would ultimately cost taxpayers $2.5 billion more than current plans for pension contributions in the following 13 years.

safe vault

Bill restricts governors from shifting special funds to other programs

Lawmakers are moving to restrict the ability of future governors to shift money between special and general funds during the operating budget creation process.

The Dedicated State Funds Protection Act (HB 787) would amend Maryland’s constitution to prohibit the governor from relocating special funds to the general fund, which is often done during the budget-balancing process and then often not repaid.

Campbell Kopp

Kopp recommended for fourth term as Md. treasurer

It was a foregone conclusion that the Special Joint Legislative Committee to Select the State Treasurer would recommend that Nancy Kopp get a fourth four-year term in one of the most powerful jobs in state government.

Even the only other candidate interviewed by the committee, Bill Campbell, the Republican nominee for comptroller in the last two elections, expected that outcome.