Gov. Larry Hogan has sent legislation to curb income taxes on the pensions of retired military, police, firefighters and first responders to the General Assembly. But some Carroll County legislators have supported legislation that would provide blanket tax relief to those 65 years and older, and the totally disabled.
Del. Kathy Afzali, R-District 4, has filed HB 250, which would give income tax relief for any income received by qualifying individuals. The bill has a hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday with the House Ways and Means Committee.
The bill would exempt any income collected by those 65 years or older, or the totally disabled or someone with a totally disabled spouse, from the Maryland State Income Tax, according to the legislation. This effectively would remove state income taxes on these groups, Afzali said.
Carroll Dels. Susan Krebs, R-District 5; Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5; Trent Kittleman, R-District 9A; Warren E. Miller, R-District 9A; and several other delegates have signed on in support of the legislation.
While Afzali said she appreciates the governor's plan to reduce income taxes on retired military and first responders, all of Maryland's retired community needs a break.
"Anyone who is thinking of leaving the state when they retire hopefully won't," Afzali said.
Afzali said she hopes the legislation would make Maryland attractive to seniors much like Florida is.
Getting that legislation passed may be tough when Hogan is pressing for his legislation amid a budget that just had to be balanced due to revenue write downs. In the governor's State of the State speech, he preached the benefits of his targeted retirement income tax legislation.
"These brave men and women have put their lives on the line for us — they deserve it — and they have earned these tax breaks," Hogan said in the speech.
Afzali said her legislation will continue through committees and the bill process, although she has another piece of legislation she hopes to champion: HB 1123. This legislation would change the state income tax rate to 3.5 percent for those making $30,000 or more. Those making less than $30,000 wouldn't pay an income tax, Afzali said.
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This would remove Maryland's tiered system — paying more depending on how much you make — and institute a flat tax. The legislation will have to go through the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee before a first reading on the floor.
The bill would also establish a county income tax rate of 2.3 percent for all Maryland counties, according to the bill. Currently, the counties set their own income tax, often referred to as the "piggyback" tax, rate. Carroll's income tax rate for 2015 tax year is 3.03 percent, according to the Maryland Comptroller's website.
Other Carroll County lawmakers have been busy as well. Below is a list of upcoming legislation along with their current status, pulled from the mgaleg.maryland.gov website. Other bills can be found by searching legislators on that website.
•HB 280: The ever popular Table Gaming Events house bill will receive a hearing at 1 p.m. March 3 with the Ways and Means Committee. A similar version of the bill, SB 4, has already passed the Senate unanimously, and its house hearing was canceled Tuesday due to weather. The bill would allow certain nonprofit organizations to hold casino gaming nights to raise money and is sponsored by the delegation.
•HB 83: Sponsored by Del. Susan Krebs, this legislation would clarify public records law, changing language stating that records custodians "shall," not "consider whether to," designate types of public records that are to be made available to any applicant immediately on request and maintain a current list of the types of public records that have been designated as available. It also would repeal language that prevents copies of judgments being released before appeals expire or an appeal is dismissed or adjudicated. Its hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, with the Health and Government Operations Committee.
•SB 719: This legislation, filed by Sen. Justin Ready, R-District 5, would alter the sale of alcoholic beverages for Class A licenses in Carroll County to 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week. This would impact Sunday hours, which are currently 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. This legislation has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee, and no hearing is scheduled at this time. HB 117 is the cross-file of this legislation.
•SB 267:This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, would allow Marylanders who adopt a cat or dog from an animal shelter or a rescue facility a credit of up to $100 against their state income tax. HB 418 is a cross file of this legislation. This bill has been assigned to the Budget and Taxation Committee but has not yet received a hearing date.