Governor Larry Hogan this week previewed a $1 billion proposal to provide stimulus checks for low-income working Marylanders, help for small businesses, and a series of tax cuts. The Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families Act (RELIEF) is one of several economic recovery packages expected to be considered by the Maryland General Assembly this session.
The RELIEF Act would provide up to $750 for families and $450 for individuals who filed for the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. Stimulus payments would be issued to individuals earning no more than $15,820 per year, while eligibility for a family with at least three children would be capped at $56,844 per year. More than 400,000 residents would qualify for this benefit.
The bill would exempt unemployment benefits that were paid in 2020 and 2021 from state and local income taxes, which would cost the state and counties about $180 million in missed tax revenue. Small businesses would be eligible for sales tax credits of up to $3,000 per month for four months — for a total of up to $12,000 — freeing-up cash to keep their doors open and sustain payroll.
The RELIEF Act would also extend unemployment tax relief for small businesses and safeguard Maryland businesses against any tax increase triggered by the use of state loan or grant funds.
According to a press release:
The RELIEF Act will be introduced as emergency legislation so that it can take immediate effect upon enactment. A summary of the bill is available here. The legislation is funded through the remaining surplus at the end of Fiscal Year 2020, difficult budget reductions, and a small portion of the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
During today’s press conference, the governor also provided an update on the new federal COVID-19 relief bill, which will provide Marylanders with an additional nearly $15 billion, including:
$7.14 billion in business assistance funding, including an additional $5.5 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program;
$4.18 billion in individual assistance funding, including an additional $2.59 billion for direct stimulus payments, $1.38 billion for extended unemployment insurance, and $211 million for enhanced SNAP benefits;
$925 million for K-12 school, and $130 million for child care;
$400 million for rental assistance, which can be used to help pay for rent and utility bills;
$336 million for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and $75 million for vaccination programs;
$257 million for the transportation sector; and
$58 million to expand broadband access.