Office of Larry Hogan governor

Battle over online travel tax shifts to governor’s office

Online travel companies lost their battle to prevent paying more Maryland sales tax on the House floor Wednesday, a fight they had already lost in the Senate.

Having been unable to persuade the lawmakers on the first floor of the State House that this is a new tax on their hotel booking services, they are now taking their case to Gov. Larry Hogan on the second floor.

A spokesman for the governor said he has yet to take a position on the legislation.

netflix-house-of-cards

Debate continues on value of film tax credit

As popular shows like “VEEP” and “House of Cards” continue to receive tax-credit aid from Maryland, legislators debate whether the return is really worth the $25 million output.

Currently, SB 905 sets up the House and Senate for a debate on the continuance of the film tax credit scheduled to end in July 2016. House of Cards has threatened to pull out of the state if this credit is not continued.

Kipke no new taxes

House moves travel website tax along, rejects amendments

The effort to collect more Maryland sales tax from travel websites such as Orbitz and Expedia moved closer to enactment as the House gave preliminary approval to legislation backed by Marriott International and hotel chains.

The online sites call the measure a new tax and the hotels say it is an existing tax the tech travel sites were pocketing instead of paying. Local travel agents say they may be caught in the crossfire, and wind up paying tax on their service fees.

Kasemeyer wide

Senate committee scales back Hogan tax relief proposals

A Senate committee voted on four of Gov. Larry Hogan’s tax relief proposals Friday, significantly scaling back three of them and outright killing a fourth.

Average taxpayers will see little to no immediate effect of any of the measures as passed by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Courtyard Marriott Hotel by JeepersMedia on Flickr

Senate approves online travel tax

The Senate in a 32-15 vote Tuesday passed a bill its sponsors claim closes a tax loophole for online travel sites, but those companies as well as brick-and-motor travel agents are protesting it as a new tax on services.

Hotel bookings 2

Online travel firms claim bill is new tax, legislators say it closes loophole

Is a bill targeting online travel companies creating a new tax on services, as opponents claim, or an attempt to close a loophole and collect sales tax on hotel charges the companies are pocketing for themselves?

Those are the key issues the state Senate will be debating Friday as it takes up SB190 that passed out of its Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday.

Brochin Hogan Glassman Cooper

Rain tax repeal gets hearing

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office joined senators in presenting three identical bills at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday to repeal the “rain tax,” the pejorative nickname for stormwater remediation fee.

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.