State COVID Relief “Fast Tracked” in Senate

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee adopted major additions to the Governor’s RELIEF bill, left its original provisions largely intact, and voted to send it to the Senate floor amidst talk of “get this out the door.”

On Thursday January 28, the Budget and Taxation Committee received a lengthy staff briefing on a long series of amendments and additions to SB 496, the Governor’s RELIEF Act to provide assistance to businesses, workers, and others affected by the COVID crisis. Their additional $520 million in funds and assistance were added to the multi-part bill and passed unanimously. The Committee Chair, Senator Guy Guzzone offered his desire to “get this bill out the door,” in a clear call to advance the bill, with an implication that technical or lesser issues could be addressed later on its apparent path toward passage.

One item that remains in the bill is the proposed change in the income tax treatment of unemployment insurance payments. Stakeholders and legislators were taken aback by the abrupt change in the fiscal estimate of this element of the bill. From a social media reaction of MACo’s own Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally:

For more detail on the full work session and discussion Conduit Street commends coverage from Maryland Matters:

Senate Panel Moves Hogan’s RELIEF Act, With an Extra $520 Million

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties