County Executive Steuart Pittman said he will push state lawmakers to override Gov. Larry Hoga’s veto of bills allowing local progressive tax brackets and higher taxes on property sales in Anne Arundel County above $1 million.
Hogan announced vetoes on those two bills and 17 others on Friday. Both bills, General Assembly priorities for Pittman, passed with veto-proof majorities this session in Annapolis. Vetoes require three-fifths of each chamber to support an override, meaning 89 in the House of Delegates and 29 in the Senate.
Pittman has pushed the last three years for Senate Bill 133, allowing local governments to implement progressive tax structures. That would allow counties to tax different income brackets at different values. Hogan opposed the bill in the 2021 session, with his opposition leading to a veto of Senate Bill 133 on Friday. The bill passed with 95 in the House of Delegates supporting it alongside 32 Senators, with the votes largely falling on party lines.
Pittman said he couldn’t guarantee lawmakers would override the vetoes, but he would try to muster the votes.
This was an attempt to give local governments more control, which was a Republican principle, Pittman said
“We have authority to raise and lower taxes now,” he said. “If we wanted to taxes, we would just do it, but we have to do it to everybody.”
Senate Bill 133 was enabling legislation allowing governments to set minimum and maximum tax rates that were applied to varying income rates, with a floor of 2.25% and a cap of 3.2% for high earners. Per the legislation, people classified in a lower bracket cannot be taxed at a higher rate than those in the bracket above.
Pittman was a staunch supporter of Senate Bill 133, trying since 2019 to get a bill passed in Maryland. Under a scenario envisioned by Pittman, these top earners would only pay 3.2% on anything over $500,000 for individuals and $600,000 for families. The initial $500,000 earnings would be taxed at 2.81% — the county’s current flat income tax rate.
The county executive has rankled Republican members on the council following a property tax rate increase to 93.5 cents per $100 assessed value, from 90.2 cents, and increased the income tax from 2.6% to 2.81%. Despite these changes, Anne Arundel County is still one of the lower-taxed counties in the state, though it is not the lowest. Pittman has said these increases were about righting the county’s budget after the previous administrations slowed budget growth.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Hogan also vetoed House Bill 933, which would have allowed Anne Arundel County to raise its taxes on property sales above $1 million, excluding properties housing low- and moderate-income families. The bill was introduced by Del. Sandy Bartlett, D-Maryland City.
Revenue from the higher taxes would go toward a housing trust to subsidize low- and moderate-income housing.
“As we begin our road to recovery, it would be unconscionable to raise taxes on our citizens and job creators at this critical time,” Hogan said in a statement. “To do so would further add to the very heavy burden that our citizens are already facing and short-circuit Maryland’s economic recovery.”
Bartlett said she was disappointed by the governor’s veto as it was a tool to build more affordable housing. She said she would be surprised if it made the veto override list next session.
“I will be cautiously optimistic though,” Bartlett said.
Here is a list of the other bills vetoed by Hogan:
- HB 1322 — Primary and Secondary Education - School Personnel Not Returning to In-Person Instruction and Work - Accommodations and Discipline
- HB 1209 — Sales and Use Tax - Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing-Alterations
- SB 9 — State Employees - Collective Bargaining - Applicability, Bargaining Processes, and Memorandums of Understanding
- SB 717/HB 904 — State Personnel - Collective Bargaining - Exclusive Representative Access to New Employees
- SB 746/HB 894 — Education - Community Colleges - Collective Bargaining
- SB 460/HB 419 — Economic Development - Advanced Clean Energy and Clean Energy Innovation Investments and Initiatives
- HB 719 — Commercial Tenants - Personal Liability Clauses - Enforceability
- SB 741/HB 836 — COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Vaccination Act of 2021
- SB 199/HB 114 — Transportation - Maryland Transit Administration Funding and MARC Rail Extension Study (Transit Safety and Investment Act)
- SB 417/HB 777 — Power Plant Research Program - Review of Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity - Alterations
- SB 95/HB 174 — Public Utilities - Investor-Owned Utilities - Prevailing Wage
- HB 278 — Economic Development - Job Creation Tax Credit - Qualified Position and Revitalization Area
- SB 97 — Purple Line Marketing Act
- HB 464 — Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission - Mandatory Referral Review MC/PG 101-21
- SB 780/HB 1003 — States of Emergency - Emergency Procurement and Budget Amendments - Notice and Authorization
- SB 829/HB 1091 — State Procurement - Emergency and Expedited Procurements - Revisions and Reporting
- SB 30/HB 133 — State Finance and Procurement - Appropriation Reductions (Board of Public Works Budget Reduction Clarification Act)
Reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this report.