New Jersey Enacts SALT Cap Workaround for Small Businesses

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation Monday giving small businesses in the Garden State a workaround for the cap on state and local tax deductions (SALT) under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) -- the 2017 federal tax overhaul that capped SALT deductions at $10,000 – a move of particular import in states like Maryland. This bill permits pass-through businesses, including S corporations, limited liability corporations, and other business partnerships, to shift the…

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Prince George’s, NAACP File Suit Against U.S. Census Bureau

The NAACP and Prince George's County have sued the U.S. Census Bureau on the grounds that the agency's preparations have been insufficient for the 2020 census. From WBAL: The civil rights group and Prince George’s County, a majority African American county in Maryland, filed the lawsuit last Friday in federal court in Maryland. It claims the Census Bureau wasn’t planning to put enough workers in the field and hadn’t opened up a sufficient number of…

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Registration for NACo 2020 Legislative Conference Open

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has opened registration for their 2020 Legislative Conference. Conference dates at February 29 - March 4, in Washington, D. C. From NACo's website: The National Association of Counties Legislative Conference brings together nearly 2,000 elected and appointed county officials to focus on federal policy issues that impact counties and our residents. Attendees have the opportunity to engage in second-to-none policy sessions, interact with federal officials and participate in congressional…

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IRS Revamps Free File Program, Nixes Noncompete Agreement with TurboTax

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week announced an agreement with Free File, Inc. (FFI) designed to bring more clarity for taxpayers choosing to use free online software during the 2020 filing season. According to the IRS, the new agreement will help make the Free File program more taxpayer-friendly while strengthening consumer protections in several key areas. The Free File program is a partnership between the IRS and tax-preparation companies to provide free tax-filing software…

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Federal Grants to Help Baltimore Region Fight Crime

Baltimore City and Baltimore County have been awarded $4.6 million in federal grants to help fight crime. WBAL reports: The funding is going to 11 different initiatives in Baltimore city and county to fight crime, opioid abuse and enhance community policing. It's considered part of a comprehensive strategy to fight crime and keep Baltimore City and Baltimore County citizens safe. Maryland's U.S. senators and congressmen announced $4.6 million in federal grants. The funding was announced…

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US House Committee Advances Legislation to Suspend SALT Cap

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee passed the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R. 5377), which would suspend the $10,000 cap placed on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for 2020 and 2021, in addition to providing relief for married couples filing jointly in 2019 by doubling the cap to $20,000. The bill now heads to the full House for a vote, which could take place before lawmakers recess for the…

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FCC Begins Rulemaking on 988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline

The FCC has begun formal rulemaking on 988 -- a three-digit number that would allow people to connect with crisis centers in times of a mental health emergency much like they can connect with first responders when using 911 for a general emergency. From Yahoo News: Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). That number routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.…

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NACo Accepting Submissions for 2020 Achievement Awards

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is now accepting submissions for the 2020 County Achievement Awards. Applications can be submitted via their website. NACo's Achievement Awards Program is a non-competitive awards program that seeks to recognize innovative county government programs. Last year, NACo recognized 616 award entries from 32 states. This year they're celebrating a milestone – 50 years of County Innovations! Awards will be given to counties with innovations in the following areas: Arts,…

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Cardin, Van Hollen Announce Over $4 Million for Eastern Shore Airports

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin last week announced $4,078,526 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT) for two airports on the Eastern Shore. The Crisfield-Somerset County Airport (W41) in Somerset County will receive $670,074 to remove obstructions from the airfield. The Crisfield-Somerset County Airport is a joint venture of Somerset County and the City of Crisfield. The Salisbury Regional Airport (SBY) in Wicomico County will receive $3,408,452 to rehabilitate the…

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New Online Tool Tracks State Preemption Laws

State preemption of local laws undermines local innovation and blocks local governments from advancing policies to advance public health, keep residents safe, preserve community character, and respond to local concerns. This troubling trend of states restraining local autonomy is a disservice to voters who deserve responsive and accountable governance. According to Route Fifty: “This is a national preemption movement that is occurring,” [CEO of the National League of Cities Clarence] Anthony told Route Fifty on Thursday.…

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