ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a $1 billion economic stimulus and tax relief package Monday that would provide money for specific residents in need and benefits for small-business owners.

Hogan said some of the money comes from budget savings that include $100 million from the state’s rainy day fund.

However, the governor’s proposal — the RELIEF Act 2021 — must be approved by state lawmakers once the annual 90-day legislative session begins Wednesday.

He made it emergency legislation so that once it is approved and signed into law, checks can be sent and tax credits can immediately kick in as the state continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will ask both houses of the legislature to act on it immediately so that I can sign it into law … and get these much-needed dollars out the door and into the pockets of those who desperately need it,” Hogan said at the State House in Annapolis.

As part of additional stimulus payments, the state proposes to offer $450 for individuals and $750 for families to benefit about 400,000 people.

Marc Nicole, the state’s deputy budget secretary, said one of the qualifications is that residents must have qualified for the earned income tax credit in 2019 or 2020.

A breakdown of annual household earnings for those who may qualify, according to a summary from the governor’s office:

• $50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children.
• $47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children.
• $41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child.
• $15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children.

“These are the lowest income Marylanders who get that,” Hogan said at the State House in Annapolis. “It would be in addition to and separate from the federal [stimulus funding].”

Another part of the governor’s proposal aims to provide $300 million in tax relief for small businesses.

Each of the estimated 55,000 businesses would receive a sales tax credit of up to $3,000 for four months for a total of $12,000.

The act proposes to provide unemployment tax relief for small businesses to halt any tax hikes during this year. According to a summary, it protects a business against any tax increases if a business owner received a state loan or grant during the pandemic.

Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones released a joint statement thanking the Republican governor for speaking with them for several months on a COVID-19 relief plan.

“This session, Democrats are focused on getting families and small businesses back on their feet; getting students back to school as soon as possible; and ensuring our seniors are safe so 2021 can become the year of rebuilding and recovery,” the presiding officers said. “We look forward to the governor working with us to accomplish these goals and demonstrating for the country what the true value of bipartisanship can be.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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