St. Mary’s Commissioners Pass Budget, Leverage Income Taxes for Priorities

The St. Mary's County Commissioners approved their FY 2020 budget on a split vote this week, adjusting their county income tax rate to 3.17%. St. Mary's County has adopted its budget for the coming year, a $253 million spending plan fueled in part by an adjustment of its county income tax rate from 3.00% to 3.17%. The eventual outcome, on a 3-2 vote, followed some wrangling over education funding and other spending priorities, and proposals…

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Opinion Piece Takes Aim at Tax Incentives

An opinion piece in Tax Notes argues that tax incentives are nothing more than giveaways to preferred taxpayers. Contributing Editor Roxanne Bland writes that just because some tax incentives can be used for good does not negate the inherent unfairness in them. According to Tax Notes: Tax incentives meant to attract businesses and individuals with the aim of revitalizing blighted areas in a city come to mind when considering the positive side. These incentives granted to companies…

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Anne Arundel Council to Consider Income Tax Cap

The Anne Arundel County Council today will consider a resolution to cap the county income tax rate at 2.5%. If approved, the resolution, introduced by Councilmember Nathan Volke, would be placed on the 2020 ballot as a referendum question. County Executive Steuart Pittman's FY 20 budget proposes raising the property tax rate from 90.2 cents to 93.5 cents per $100 assessed value and the income tax rate from 2.5% to 2.81%. Due to the County’s…

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Annual U.S. Tax Gap Climbs to $500 Billion

The gap between the amount of U.S. federal taxes paid and the amount of tax owed is staggering—over $500 billion per year. A high level of voluntary tax compliance is critical to help ensure taxpayer faith and fairness in the tax system. Those who don’t pay what they owe ultimately shift the tax burden to those who properly meet their tax obligations. The gross tax gap is the amount of true tax liability that is not paid voluntarily and timely.…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Eye on Annapolis… and Beyond

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast. Useful Links Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Governor Appoints Henson to District 30A Delegate Seat Eye on Annapolis The Maryland Crabs Podcast

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2019 State and Local Fiscal Facts

In the past few years, financial conditions for state and local governments have stabilized, but progress has been limited. While challenges remain, officials have been taking steps to replenish rainy day funds and address long term structural imbalances. The National Association of Counties (NACo), National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and other organizations representing public sector officials and employees recently published a joint report detailing the fiscal…

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Court of Appeals Case Opens Door for More Taxpayer Lawsuits Against Local Governments

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-05-07) reported on a recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals that could expand the concept of "taxpayer standing" and allow taxpayers to sue local governments to allege waste or mismanagement without a need to show a specific harm different from that of the general public. The decision, George v. Baltimore County, was issued on April 1, 2019. The original case was brought by several Baltimore County taxpayers over alleged mismanagement of…

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Iowa Legislature Approves “Soft” Property Tax Cap

The Iowa State Legislature last week approved legislation to enact a “soft cap” on property taxes. The bill would require local governments to take extra steps before approving budgets that include more than a 2% increase in property tax revenues from the current year. A levy that generates property tax revenue increases of 2% or less could be approved by a majority vote of the board or council. Anything higher than 2% would require a…

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Commission on State Debt: Keep Property Tax Rates Flat

At its April 24th meeting, the Board of Public Works will set the state property tax rate for FY 2020. The Board’s advisory group, the Commission on State Debt, has unanimously recommended that the tax rate remain flat – at the same 11.2 cents per $100 value for real property that has been in place since 2007. According to Maryland Matters: While the state’s property tax rate has stayed at 11.2 cents per $100 of…

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Report: SCOTUS Ruling Makes Airbnb’s Tax Agreements Obsolete

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) this week released a report, authored by former Director of the Montana Revenue Department Dan Bucks, claiming that last year's Supreme Court’s Wayfair vs. South Dakota decision eliminates the need for state and localities to enter into “voluntary collection agreements” (VCAs) with Airbnb and provides the legal framework and incentive to tax Airbnb like other online businesses. State and local governments across the country have entered into VCAs…

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