Veto Override, Taxes, and More
The earned sick leave bill, known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HB 1), extends sick leave to 700,000 Marylanders. Although it is important for the state as a whole, it actually does not affect Montgomery County which maintains its own earned sick leave program.
The Maryland Fair Access to Education Act (HB 694) bans institutions of higher education from screening applications on the basis of an applicant having a criminal record. Later in the process, the institutions can scrutinize an applicant's criminal background, if any.
Both vetoes were overriden and we now turn to the business of the 2018 legislative session.
As always, you can always keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
January 17 (today if you receive this by email) is the introduction date of the Governor's budget. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be spending significant time on the budget as we go through the spending needs and progress of each state agency. I will have more information to share on the budget next week once I have had more time to review it. For now, you can visit http://dbm.maryland.gov for more information.
My first bill of the 2018 legislative session has been introduced, the College Savings Enhancement Act (HB 131). The bill doubles the $2,500 tax deduction for contributions to 529 plans (including those for college savings or ABLE accounts) for all but the top two tax brackets. Of the 35 states that provide a tax deduction for 529 contributions, Maryland's is currently in the bottom third in terms of value. Doubling the deduction would encourage further savings for higher education. That said, the federal tax legislation's expansion of what is eligible for 529 expenditures to private K-12 education creates uncertainty around the plans that may prevent this legislation from proceeding in 2018.
Over the past few weeks, many constituents have contacted me to express concern about the impact of the Trump tax plan on Marylanders. This week, Democrats in the state legislature announced an initial package of bills to try and address some of the harm: decoupling the state estate tax from the federal tax, which is increasing; restoring the use of personal exemptions at the state level; and crafting a charitable contribution option to off-set the loss of the federal State and Local Tax deduction.
One of the actions we took in 2017 to deal with the changes in Washington, DC was creating the Health Insurance Protection Commission to monitor healthcare changes coming from Washington, DC. The Commission issued a report recently, which you can read here.
The District 16 Team (Senator Susan Lee, Delegate Ariana Kelly, and me) are pleased to announce a schedule of meet and greets around District 16. Please join us at one of these meet and greets to discuss the issues that matter to you as we look towards the 2018 election. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email email@example.com.
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