Reznik Report from Annapolis – Presentment

April 2, 2022

It’s been a little while since I’ve written and updated you with what is happening in Annapolis. So this email might be a bit longer than normal, consider a lot has been happening.

Today was what we call “Presentment Day” when we can send or present bills to the Governor for signature or veto. If the Governor vetoes a bill, we still have time during the legislative session. A number of bills were sent to the Governor, some of which he signed immediately, and others that he is going to take a little more time with.

We are just over a week away from the end of session or “sine die” and I wanted to tell you about some of things we have done to date.

Tax Reform Package (Revisited)

Last time I wrote, I told you about a series of “Family Budget Boosters” tax cut bills we passed to help working and middle-class families afford basic necessities and helps put chronically unemployed Marylanders back to work.

We have since added to that, so here is the revised list. In total, we have cut about $2 billion in targeted taxes.

The newest is the Retirement Tax Elimination Act of 2022 which now helps not just retirees, but all Marylanders over the age of 65. If you are over 65 and a single filer making under $100,000 (federally adjusted), then you will be able to claim a $1,000 tax credit on your State return. If you are a joint filer and making under $150,000 (federally adjusted), then you can claim a $1,750 tax credit on your State Return. You don’t need to be fully or partially retired, and it applies to all income.

In addition, the bill increased the subtraction modification for all first responders, corrections officers, and other public safety personnel, making their subtraction modification on their retirement income equal to military retirees.

In addition, the sales and use tax has been eliminated on all of these items.
HB 282 and HB 288 remove the sales tax on diapers and baby products including car seats, baby bottles, and bottle nipples;
HB 492 removes the tax on dental hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash;
HB 364 removes the sales tax on a variety of household medical equipment like thermometers, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors.

▪ HB 1151 removes the sales tax on diabetes-related items such as testing strips, insulin pumps and glucose monitors. This is in conjunction with SB 353 that limits out of pocket costs for insulin itself to $30 for a 30-day supply. This is similar to a bill I personally introduced pre-COVID, and I’m so glad to see it passed.

Finally HB 2, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, provides a tax credit to businesses that hire and retain workers from underrepresented communities who are chronically unemployed.

Legislation Presented to the Governor

The following major legislation has passed both Houses with veto proof majorities and has been presented to the Governor.

SB 275 – The Time to Care Act of 2022 – Establishes a family and medical leave insurance program that will allow employees that need to care for a sick loved one or need parental leave with a new child up to 12 weeks of paid leave. This applies to all employers with over 15 employees.

SB 528 – Climate Solutions Now Act – This landmark legislation strengthens Maryland’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change by setting achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gasses and meet the goal of net-zero statewide emissions by 2045.

HB 425 – Ghost Gun Ban – bans unregistered, untraceable ‘ghost guns’ and creates a plan for a system to register guns that can be sold in kits of loose parts and do not have a serial number.

HB 837 – Cannabis Reform – addresses criminal justice and public health issues facing cannabis legalization while building the necessary foundation to create social equity in the recreational cannabis industry. It allows Marylanders to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis without penalty and allows for expungement of convictions of anyone previously found guilty of simple possession of marijuana. This bill is contingent on the passage of HB 1 – a Constitutional Referendum on the ballot this November – that would allow for marijuana legalization.

HB 937- Abortion Care Access Act – This will expand access and coverage for those who need these services, and will make sure that clinicians are well trained and provide the best comprehensive care to patients.

Obviously, numerous other bills were passed to date, and I will provide a more comprehensive end of session letter at the end of session, but these are major pieces of legislation I wanted to highlight.

The State Budget

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, my main job is work to craft and pass a comprehensive operating and capital budget for the State. Though I will provide a more comprehensive review of the budget next week (this email is already pretty long), I can say that I am so proud of the work we did. This might be the best budget we have produced during my time in Annapolis.

The budget who conference report was voted out today by both the House and Senate funds our social safety net, fund numerous State priorities, and as described above provides tax cuts to vulnerable populations, working families, and seniors. Our Rainy Day fund is at a healthy 10%, and there are rate increases for behavioral health providers, economic development efforts, and funds the Blueprint for Maryland Future.

And that’s just the Operating Budget. The Capital Budget provides funding for hundreds of projects across the State, and brings home record money for Montgomery County.

Please continue to reach out to my office on your thoughts about legislation or with needs for constituent services. I can always be reached at (301) 858-3039 or at kirill.reznik@house.state.md.us.

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