Counties: State-Mandated Subtraction Modifications Infringe on Local Autonomy

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony to the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee to oppose SB 278 (cross filed with HB 342) – Retirement Tax Reduction Act of 2020 and SB 269 – Income Tax – Subtraction Modification – Correctional Officers, Law Enforcement Officers, and Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services Personnel (Hometown Heroes Act).

MACo’s position does not assert a position on the subject of the policy itself, but steadfastly holds that 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.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties are eager and committed partners in promoting economic growth and creating opportunity – we prefer local autonomy in determining the best way locally. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) opposes state-mandated reductions in local revenue sources, but welcomes tools to grant counties options and flexibility to pursue their own parallel tax incentives, or to develop others to suit their local needs.

. . .  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. MACo and county governments stand ready to work with state policymakers to develop flexible and optional tools to create broad or targeted tax incentives, but resist state-mandated changes that preclude local input.

MACo plans to submit the same statement in opposition to other subtraction modification bills introduced this session that would restrict local autonomy by imposing state mandated tax cuts and directly override local decision-making.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.