ANNAPOLIS — Outlining his final legislative agenda as Maryland governor, Larry Hogan said he will push state legislators to grant tax relief for retirees, small businesses and families.
Most of his proposals either didn’t pass or were simply ignored by the Democratic-controlled legislature. This time, the Republican governor wants to make what he calls the biggest tax cut in state history, by eliminating 100% of state retirement taxes that could bring $4.6 billion in relief.
“It’s not just good for our economy, but it’s also good for our quality of life,” Hogan, whose second term expires in January 2023, said Tuesday inside the State House. “[Tax relief] is the one area where we are still not competing effectively with other states. Although we are one of the best places to live and we have so many great things going for us, we continue to lose some of our best citizens.”
The goal would be for the plan to take effect this tax season and phased in over time for those 65 and older who receive Social Security.
The legislature did approve tax measures for law enforcement and emergency personnel, but not specific tax relief for seniors, Hogan said.
The Republican governor also presented a tax relief proposal for “working Marylanders” to make permanent the earned income tax credit within the RELIEF Act measure passed by lawmakers in February 2021.
Part of the act repealed those tax credits for about two years to help low-income families during the coronavirus pandemic. The governor said this could provide $650 million in tax relief.
Relief for small businesses is also part of the governor’s tax relief plan, namely by eliminating $300 filing fees for merchants who submit their annual report online to the state Department of Assessments and Taxation. It would eliminate a $100 filing fee for family farmers.
The governor said this would make Maryland the first state in the nation to offer a zero-fee option for businesses who conduct this type of filing.
Another proposal would be to extend the More Jobs for Marylanders program through 2027 for businesses that provide manufacturing jobs. Currently, business owners can receive tax credits by enrolling in the program and are certified as a “quality business entity” until June 1.
His final proposal, the Project Restore Act, seeks to codify and make permanent a COVID-19 program in which small businesses and commercial developers receive financial incentives to revitalize vacant retail space.
A specific timeline and financial estimates on these proposals will be presented next week when releasing the state budget, he said.
Tuesday marked the second straight press briefing Hogan held inside the State House pitching his legislative priorities. The legislature plans to convene for its 90-day session Wednesday.
The governor pushed his “re-fund the police” initiative Monday, encouraging lawmakers to approve a three-year, $500 million to pay law enforcement salaries and bonuses ($200 million), state aid for local jurisdictions ($137 million) and capital improvements for state police barracks and a new tactical services building ($50 million).