Gov. Larry Hogan suggests eliminating all income tax on retiree income without regard to means testing (”Maryland Gov. Hogan renews bid for tax cuts for retirees, lowest-income earners and businesses,” Jan. 11). This proposal is unwarranted economically, worsens the existing generational imbalance in tax treatment and favors white retirees over Black residents and other minorities.
I am a 70-year-old retired white professional. We baby boomers are doing quite well financially. We have benefited throughout our lives from readily available credit, tax-favored college savings plans for our children, tax-favored retirement plans, home values that have appreciated astronomically and an unprecedented amount of inherited wealth. For many boomers, incomes do not decline with retirement. Often, income increases with retirement due to generous retirement plans, generous Medicare coverage and reduced expenses for child care and work, even with increased prescription drug costs.
Maryland already treats retirement income quite favorably. My state taxable income is barely a third of my federal. None of these tax savings are means tested; they are based entirely on age.
Young people cannot expect to see the same tax savings throughout their working lives that my generation continues to benefit from. This is even more true for Black individuals. Due to generations of redlining and denial of credit, most Black people were effectively barred from purchasing homes in neighborhoods that experienced unprecedented home value appreciation. And due to generations of expropriated wealth from Black families, beginning with slavery and continuing into modern times, they have accumulated only a tiny fraction of the wealth of white retirees. For example, the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 was deliberately designed to destroy Black wealth.
Retirees do not need tax relief merely because they are retired. Any such benefits should be means tested and designed to largely benefit poor and minority taxpayers.
Sheldon H. Laskin, Pikesville
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