Congress Passes Land Conservation Tax Incentive

A bipartisan congressional vote makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation. As reported by the Department of Natural Resources, in a bipartisan action Congress passed the America Gives More Act, a package of tax incentives to encourage charitable giving that included a tax incentive for land conservation. From the Department, Farmers, ranchers and the public will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their property to protect important natural,…

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Wicomico County Council Approves Reduction of Homestead Tax Credit

The Wicomico County Council voted last night to approve a reduction in the Homestead Tax Credit from 10% to 5%, capping the year-to-year increases county homeowners see in their property tax bills. While complicated, this approach works to limit tax bills while property assessments are rapidly increasing.  However, when property assessments decline (as they have recently in every county) homeowners find that their property tax bills are often still rising because the artificially reduced tax…

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1st Quarter Income Tax Distribution Increases 5.3% Over Prior Year

The Office of the Comptroller released its detail of the May (1st quarter) distributions of county income taxes.  According to the electronic message, the May distribution totals $781.7 million an increase of 5.3% over last year’s distribution.  This increase can be attributed to a number of factors: Employment in the State increased by 0.7% in the first quarter, although growth was boosted in part by the comparison period which included the back-to-back snowstorms of February…

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State Tax Revenues on the Rise, Most Counties See Decline

As reported by the Baltimore Business Journal, State tax revenues were up 7% for the month of April and 5% for the fiscal year to date. Growth in individual income tax collection led the way. The state has received $5.1 billion in income tax receipts so far this fiscal year, compared with $4.9 billion at this point in fiscal 2010. Sales tax receipts have also grown slightly, to $2.7 billion so far this fiscal year…

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Most Counties See Actual Decline in Property Tax Base

As property assessments are in decline in every part of the state, it comes as no surprise that the effective property tax base is now lower than it was last year for most Maryland counties. The simplest measure of this -- which includes the fairly complicated effects of the various phase-in and credits that benefit Maryland taxpayers -- is each county's Constant Yield Tax Rate. The constant yield tax rate is the tax rate a…

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Local Officials Discuss Transportation Issues, Gas Tax Hike

Today, Governor Martin O'Malley is hosting a roundtable discussion with lawmakers and key transportation officials from around the state to review statewide transportation issues, including how to pay for much needed infrastructure requirements.  Amongst the concerns confronting local governments is the possibility of a gas tax hike. This past session, legislation was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola to increase the gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon (25 cents to 35 cents)…

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Wicomico County Budget Discussions Center on Tax Increases

As budget deliberations begin for the FY 2012 operating budget, the central question confronting the Wicomico County Council is whether to support a property tax increase of 6.5 percent to fill an anticipated $4.5 million budget deficit.  County Executive Rick Pollitt, who introduced the tax increase in his proposed budget, notes that without it would require a second straight year of layoffs,  decreased funding levels to Wor-Wic Community College, and call for an additional $2…

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End of Session Update: Tax and Revenue Legislation

A previous post provided the status of various tax and revenue bills that MACo took a position on. Now that the dust has settled, this post provides the final status of these bills. Indemnity Mortgages: HB 420 would apply the recordation tax to an indemnity mortgage in the same manner as if the guarantor were primarily liable for the guaranteed loan. An indemnity mortgage is recorded to establish a lien on the property. It typically…

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“Last Day” Issues Wrap Up

As reported yesterday by MACo, a number of issues with county effect remained in play prior to the midnight deadline for the General Assembly session.  Below is an overview of how each of those bills ultimately played out: Maintenance of Effort – As reported yesterday, three bills were awaiting  final action. MACo supported HB 44 and SB 53 as a legislative initiative, to expand and balance the process for considering county MOE waiver requests —and…

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Semiannual Payment Schedule for Business Property Amended to Address MACo Concerns

As previously posted, HB 463, which would require counties and municipalities to establish a semiannual payment property tax schedule for all business property, passed out of the House and was awaiting action in the Senate.   MACo opposed the bill, arguing that providing such a schedule for all business property lacks a compelling policy argument.  A semiannual payment schedule exists for small business property, businesses with property taxes that don't exceed $50,000.  However, HB 463 would…

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