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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference earlier this week. He's proposing an income tax cut for retirees, which he said would be Maryland's biggest tax cut in two decades if it passes.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference earlier this week. He's proposing an income tax cut for retirees, which he said would be Maryland's biggest tax cut in two decades if it passes. (Pamela Wood/Baltimore Sun)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday proposed cutting income taxes for retirees — an idea that’s been defeated before by state lawmakers.

The Republican governor has not officially introduced the bill, but he said it would include eliminating state income taxes on retirees who make less than $50,000 per year, as well as a reduction of 50% to 100% for retirees who make less than $100,000 per year.

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Over five years, the tax cuts would amount to $1 billion. Hogan called it the largest tax cut in Maryland in more than two decades.

"It will keep tens of thousands of Maryland retirees from being forced to flee our state,” Hogan said during a news conference Thursday.

Republicans have tried and failed to eliminate income taxes on retirees before. In 2014, before Hogan was elected, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to eliminate retiree income taxes that died in committee.

“If we’re having these discussions about if we have enough money to talk about fairly drastic increases in spending, I’d like at least part of the discussion to be about letting people keep some of their own money,” he said.

The state is also facing budget shortfalls in future years, according to nonpartisan budget analysts. Without changes to state revenue and spending, the state is forecasted to have a $701 million shortfall in two years.

Hogan also has proposed more tailored tax cuts for retirees this year, including a proposal to eliminate taxes on retirement income that’s tied to military service as well as an expansion of the state’s “Hometown Heroes" tax benefit.

Under the 2017 Hometown Heroes Act, retired first responders such as police officers and firefighters are exempted from paying taxes on the first $15,000 of retirement income. Hogan’s proposal would eliminate all taxes for those individuals and lower the eligibility age from 55 to 50.

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