MACo Supports Flexibility for SDAT, Urges Proper Guardrails

On February 28, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee to support HB 1095 - Property Tax - Supervisors of Assessments - Alterations with amendments. This bill authorizes the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) to appoint a supervisor of assessments to oversee multiple counties. As current law requires a supervisor for each county, MACo urges amendments to require each affected county's governing body to sign off…

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Counties Support Thriving, Inclusive, and Growing Innovation Economy

On February 23, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in SUPPORT of HB 781 - Maryland Technology Development Corporation - Equitech Growth Fund and Commission with amendments. HB 781 establishes the Equitech Growth Fund and Commission to bolster Maryland's competitiveness as an innovation economy. Local governments, just like the State, have a vested interest in economic development. Accordingly, MACo is offering an amendment to add a county representative…

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MACo: “Swatting” Weaponizes 9-1-1, Endangers Public Safety

On February 21, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified in support of HB 745 Criminal Law - False Statements - Emergency or Commission of Crime (Antiswatting Act of 2023) before the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would strengthen state laws to protect first responders and residents from malicious threats that disrupt emergency communications and jeopardize public safety. HB 745 would expressly prohibit "swatting," where an individual places a phony 9-1-1 call, often alleging a…

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Counties Support Homeowner Hardship Credit, Seek Technical Support

On February 14, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 0404 - Property Tax - Statewide Optional Credit for Homeowners Who Have Suffered a Hardship with amendments. The bill authorizes local governments to grant optional property tax credits to residents who have suffered a hardship under specified circumstances. An amendment could help in program administration. MACo generally supports legislation that provides broad authority to enact…

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Counties Oppose Expansion of “IDOT” Tax Avoidance Scheme

On February 14, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition to HB 0371 - Recordation Tax - Indemnity Mortgage Exemption - Threshold Amount. This bill would restore and invigorate a tax avoidance scheme for commercial property owners to avoid paying Maryland taxes on substantial financial transactions. Doing so is unwise and unfair tax policy, granting a tax break not promoting socially beneficial behavior, but merely rewarding…

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Governor Will Submit Supplemental Budget to Fully Fund Disparity Grants

Governor Wes Moore will submit a supplemental budget to fully fund the Disparity Grant Program, which is underfunded by $54 million due to outdated income tax data. At recent MACo meetings, county leaders were briefed on a recent revision to tax data, resulting in underfunded county disparity grants. This week, MACo learned that Governor Wes Moore will submit a supplemental budget to fully fund the Disparity Grant Program, currently short by nearly $54 million due…

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MACo Supports Additional Resources for Homeowners Facing Tax Sale

On February 7, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 0236 - Tax Sales - State Tax Sale Ombudsman - Outreach Campaign with amendments to bolster the outreach program by authorizing alternative communication methods to reach homeowners facing tax sale, as some homeowners may not have access to telephone services. This bill requires the State Tax Sales Ombudsman to implement an annual outreach campaign to inform…

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Counties Support Added Flexibility on Local Revenues

On February 2, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 0142 - More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023. This bill gives counties the proper tools and flexibility to levy the local income tax with greater equity and fairness. In 2021, the General Assembly approved legislation authorizing counties to levy the local income tax on a bracket basis – standard practice for…

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DLS: New Tax Data Reveals Disparity Grant Program Underfunded by $54M

New income tax data reveals the Disparity Grant Program is underfunded by $54 million. The Disparity Grant Program provides noncategorical State aid to low-wealth jurisdictions. It promotes equity across jurisdictions to overcome disparate tax bases -- ensuring that counties, which rely on local income taxes for substantial revenue, can generate sufficient yield to fund schools, public health, public safety, roadway maintenance, and other essential community services. Recent years have seen State-imposed "caps" in this program…

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