Maryland governor proposes huge tax cuts for retirees so they’ll stop moving to Florida

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants to cut income taxes for retirees by $1 billion over the next five years, a “major step” toward his goal of eventually eliminating all retirement taxes. Under Hogan’s proposal, entitled the “Retirement Tax Reduction Act of 2020,” retirees with less than $50,000 of income will no longer pay state income taxes in Maryland. Retirees who earn less than $100,000 will see reductions of between 50% and 100%. (WTOP)

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Baltimore mayoral candidates raise $2.3M, signaling expensive and bitter fight ahead for crowded field

Baltimore mayoral candidates collectively have raised more than $2.3 million heading into the final months of the Democratic primary campaign, signaling an expensive and bitter fight ahead for the crowded field. The first round of campaign finance reports this election cycle show Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a strong financial position as he fights to hold onto his job: He has nearly $960,000 cash on hand, according to his Wednesday filing.“It’s a symbol of people’s faith in Jack Young being a steady hand and moving the city forward,” said campaign spokesman Myles Handy. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland lawmakers introduce bundle of bills to fund education

A group of unions and progressive Maryland lawmakers have announced 10 bills that they say could raise $2 billion by 2030. The goal is to generate revenues that would help cover the cost of recommendations outlined in the Kirwan Commission’s report on education. The legislation being proposed by the “Maryland Fair Funding Coalition” would: Require combined reporting for multistate corporations that do business in Maryland. Apply a 1% surtax on capital gains income. Restructure state income tax brackets and tax rates. Cut tax credit programs “with no track record of success” — i.e., that don’t have a demonstrated record of benefiting Maryland’s economy. (WTOP)

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Maryland Republicans prioritize crime bills, promising to introduce 6 focusing on guns, violent offenders

Maryland’s Republican state lawmakers are pressing for a series of bills that they say would help keep violent criminals behind bars and improve transparency in the judicial system. The Republican proposals face long odds in the Democrat-led Maryland General Assembly, and some of the bills have been defeated in past years. Del. Nic Kipke, House minority leader, said he is “very optimistic” about the bills’ chance of success. (Balt. Sun)

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McCray pushes Baltimore police residency requirement bill

Sen. Cory McCray continues pushing legislation permitting Baltimore to require certain high-ranking police officers to live in the city, despite opposition from the department. The legislation is needed, McCray said, because Baltimore benefits when law enforcement leaders are invested in the city’s future in a way that can only happen when those officers call the city home. “When we have folks that know those neighborhoods a little better there’s a stronger fabric, a stronger connection,” McCray said on Wednesday during bill’s hearing with the Senate Judicial Proceeding’s Committee. (Daily Record)

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Proposed rule could limit the number of bills senators can file

Senate bills may become a hot commodity in Maryland if a rule proposed this week is enacted. The Senate Rules Committee is planning to meet Friday to consider limiting the number of bills any one senator can propose in the yearly 90-day session of the General Assembly. The busiest senators have proposed more than 40 bills in past years. Sen. Michael Hough, R-Frederick and Carroll, wants to cut that to no more than 20.
“Because we hear every bill (in a committee), our time is taken up by legislation that has been defeated time and time again, legislation that has little chance, or legislation that, quite frankly, has not been worked out all the way,” Hough said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. (Daily Record)

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Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh returned donations from CareFirst staff, still has nearly $1M in campaign account

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who is awaiting sentencing on federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges, still has nearly $1 million in her campaign account, according to the latest finance report.
That’s despite substantial bills from campaign attorneys and consultants hired in the wake of the scandal last year surrounding Pugh’s sales of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books, and her campaign refunding contributions from executives at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, one of the companies that purchased the books. (Balt. Sun)

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Juvenile justice, parole reform needed, analyst tells Senate panel

Juvenile justice and parole reform are needed to cure a Maryland prison system in which inmates are serving overly long sentences for crimes they committed as young adults, a justice policy analyst told a Senate panel Thursday. Marc Schindler, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, pressed for raising the age of offenders considered juveniles from the teens to 25. Schindler cited medical studies showing that the human brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s, leaving people susceptible to impulsive acts and peer pressure into young adulthood. (Daily Record)

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