Photo above: Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
By Len Lazarick
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.
PERSONAL PROPERTY: The committee did vote to cut personal property taxes for small businesses with less than $10,000 of physical assets, but the relief won’t happen for two years.
AUTOMATIC GAS TAX HIKES: Hogan’s proposal to stop automatic gasoline tax increases passed two years ago was stripped from SB589, but the committee did vote to limit increases triggered by the Consumer Price Index to 3%, rather than 8% cap in current law.
With inflation still under control, the CPI is not expected to go above 2.5% in the near future, a legislative analyst told the committee.
“It goes up, but it never goes down,” said Sen. George Edwards, R-Garrett. But he conceded the new CPI cap “is better than what’s in there.”
MILITARY PENSIONS: A proposal to totally exempt all military pensions from taxes over four years was replaced with a plan to increase the current exemption of $5,000 in retirement pay to $10,000. This tax exemption for military retirees has passed the Senate in past years, but died in the House Ways & Means Committee, according to its main sponsor Sen. Doug Peters.
FIRST RESPONDER PENSIONS: The Hometown Heroes Act, SB594, a bill to exempt up to $29,000 of the pensions of police, firefighters and other first responders, was defeated based on its cost — $3 million next year rising to $11 million in fiscal 2020. This applies to any first responder retiring over age 50. In Maryland, anyone over 65 has a state income tax exemption on pension income up to $29,000, the maximum Social Security benefit.
Four senators opposed the committee’s unfavorable report on this administration bill: Sens. Addie Eckardt, R-Dorchester; Edwards; Andrew Serafini, R-Washington; and Roger Manno, D-Montgomery, who had sponsored his own version of the hometown heroes bill before Hogan introduced his.
RAIN TAX: The Senate has already passed its own version of Hogan’s repeal of the so-called “rain tax,” a stormwater remediation fee. But even if a county actually repeals a tax to fund treatment of polluted stormwater in an effort to meet a federal mandate to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the county must still submit a plan to remediate stormwater and the money to pay for it.
Responding to Friday’s action by the committee, Doug Mayer, the governor’s deputy communication director said, “Providing for tax relief is the number one issue Marylanders want to see addressed and why Governor Hogan has been fighting to implement his legislation…. What is very clear is that the conversation in Annapolis has changed.
“This year we will pass a budget that not only doesn’t raise taxes but actually cuts them, something that hasn’t been seen around here for a very long time, ” Mayer said. “We thank the leadership in the House and the Senate for working with us to make this happen.”
“At the start of the session legislators dismissed the notion of changing how Maryland’s gas tax worked. Seeing positive changes now is very encouraging. The governor will continue to push for common-sense and transparency to be restored to this process.”
I appreciate what Governor Hogan has done and continues to try to do. He has been the best Governor in Maryland so far.
Maryland is losing $11.83 Billion dollars in annual AGI because tax payers and businesses are leaving the state. 8000 businesses alone last year according to the governor. Retirees can’t afford to live in the houses they have paid for. Those leaving are heading south to escape the taxes and crime and to be lawfully able to defend themselves in public. Maryland will never get these tax payers and businesses back. Interesting to note, when retirees leave, their children tend to follow – sets off a chain reaction as there are many jobs available outside of Maryland. Tax payers are fleeing Montgomery (26,211) PG (38,090) Baltimore City (72,078) and this will show in future elections and resulting loss in tax revenue- Montgomery has already raised property taxes trying to cover the lost income( $6.90 Billion dollars in annual AGI) PG loses ($ 4.36Billion dollars in annual AGI) and Baltimore City loses ( $ 4.05 Billion dollars in annual AGI). The will not be getting this back anytime soon if at all. Families are leaving the state.
When I read these announcements by the infamous politicians in Annapolis like Miller, and his asshole buddy, I cant help but get sick to my stomach. I’m 70 years old, retired, and have been a citizen of the great socialist start of Md. all my life. Yes, I am a republican, and as an outsider, outside of what the oldtimers and the illiterate call the democratic party, I see pure socialism as the second choice in politics in Md. I don’t think Md. recognizes Independents. My point is that socialism is a code word for progressives, who are at heart communists. If you don’t believe me just look at the political set-up in Annapolis, and Baltimore City. A 1.3 billion dollar budget for Bemore, no way.
Politics is the art of compromise; so is married life. Only purists can expect to get everything they wish for. The fact that taxes were not raised and that some accommodation was made to the Governor’s tax relief proposals is a huge victory. More to come next year – we hope.
Just remember that when they finish wrecking the
States economy, Maryland has a bunch of “free” money
handout programs for the unemployed. Not to worry,
your socialists in Annapolis will protect you from work,
jail, death penalties and other unjust inconviences.
The so called democrats, who are realy socialists, since there are no such thing as a democrat anymore. They are not going to give up much of their vote buying money scheme left to them be O’Malley and brown. Using taxpayers money to buy the votes of dummies and minorities is the lifeblood of the socialist party in the United states.
Keep on voting for liberal/progressive/radical Democrats, folks ! /sarc
This is what you deserve for doing so !
And you ask why you’re struggling financially ?