Counties Oppose State-Mandated Reductions, Support Tax Incentives

Kevin Kinnally, MACo’s Associate Director, offered testimony on Wednesday to oppose two bills representing state-mandated reductions in local revenue sources.

HB 114 increases the maximum amount of a subtraction modification under the State income tax of certain individuals for retirement income attributable to specific professions.

HB 204 allows a subtraction modification under the State income tax for income from a qualified transfer of stock or membership interest of a Maryland corporation or limited liability company to certain employee ownership entities.

However, with these two bills – and those like them – MACo is not necessarily objecting to the spirit of the bill…just the mechanism suggested to get achieve the goal.

In general, MACo opposes state-mandated reductions in local revenue sources, but welcomes tools to grant county options and flexibility to pursue their own parallel tax incentives, or to develop others to suit their local needs.

From MACo’s testimony:

…MACo stands for local self-determination. Counties, led by their elected leaders who are directly accountable within the community, are in the best position to make decisions on local affairs – ranging from land use to budget priorities. MACo steadfastly guards this local autonomy, and frequently advocates against statewide solutions that mandate county compliance or otherwise override local decision-making.

Property taxes show the best collaborative way to enact targeted tax relief. The State and its local governments already work together here – where the State routinely grants a state-level tax credit, but then enables county governments to enact their own as a local option.

State proposals that involve local revenue sources can be enacted as “local option” offerings, to allow counties maximum flexibility to achieve local goals. MACo urges the Committee to primarily consider state income tax credits as the best means to incorporate local tax relief as part of a broader policy.