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Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) was joined by Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) as he signed the takeover for the economy, livelihoods, industries, Entrepreneurs and Families Act (RELIEF) Monday. Also present at the ceremony were parliamentary minority leader Nicholaus R. Kipke (R-Anne Arundel), parliamentary majority leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Senate Committee on Budget and taxation Guy Guzzone (D-Howard) and Bryan W. Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel). (Courtesy of Governor Larry Hogan)

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Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Monday signed a heavily amended version of his billion-dollar COVID-19 relief plan, allowing thousands of low-income Marylanders to get stimulus checks.

Hogan, along with Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), hailed the rapid and largely bipartisan passage of the RELIEF Act by the legislature before to sign the bill on Monday.

“It is almost unheard of for a major bill to be passed in such a short time and with such universal bipartisan support,” said Hogan, who has repeatedly insisted on swift passage of the legislation.

The relief plan was the subject of heated debate and several amendments when it passed the General Assembly over the past month, with lawmakers calling its final form a “compromise.”

“This bill that has passed is not a Democratic bill,” Jones said. “This is not a Republican bill. This is a bill for the people we all represent here.

As part of the finalized relief package, low-income taxpayers who claimed the Working Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2019 will receive direct stimulus payments of $ 500 for families and $ 300 for individuals.

The package also includes the largest increase in the EITC in Maryland history, House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) said last week. The RELIEF Act will increase the state’s correspondence with the federal EITC for taxpayers with dependents from 28% to 45% for three years. This means that a family with two or more children that earns $ 25,000 a year will see an annual credit increase of about $ 1,100, Luedtke said.

Businesses and some taxpayers will also benefit from substantial tax cuts as a result of the relief effort: layoffs.

Businesses will also be able to defer paying unemployment taxes until next year, part of the bill Luedtke compared to a one-year interest-free loan. Other elements of the RELIEF law include temporary sales tax relief for small businesses and the elimination of taxes on grants and canceled loans related to the pandemic.

The package also includes nearly $ 300 million in targeted relief funds to help struggling Marylanders, including funding for food banks and relief on utility bills.

Controller Peter VR Franchot (R) plans to hold a press conference on Tuesday with other senior public finance officials to explain how the RELIEF law will be implemented. According to a statement, his office will begin dealing with some of the bill’s provisions as early as Tuesday.

The House passed the relief effort last week after a last-minute debate over whether to send stimulus checks to a larger group of taxpayers. Advocates and some Democratic lawmakers feared that because the EITC requires a social security number, thousands of immigrant taxpayers would be excluded.

People who file taxes with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), including undocumented immigrants, will not receive RELIEF Act stimulus checks. House Democrats made a last-minute effort to add ITIN filers to the bill last week, but this amendment was took of after Republicans’ objections and questions about the amendment’s viability threatened to delay the fast-track bill.

In a press release on Friday, leaders of the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus said Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) warned lawmakers that the original proposal to include ITIN reporters in the RELIEF Act “would not be viable”.

Instead, Jones and Ferguson promised to quickly pass legislation that would extend the benefits of the EITC to ITIN filers for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 tax years, Ferguson said at a press conference on Friday. latest. More than 86,000 ITIN filers paid more than $ 100 million in state and local taxes last year, according to Franchot, and many of those taxpayers would meet the income criteria of the EITC.

“No Marylander deserves to wonder where their next meal will come from, how to buy their child’s diapers or how to pay for life-saving drugs – especially when they go to work every day,” read a statement. Jones and Ferguson Friday.

ITIN filers represent a large group of taxpayers, including undocumented immigrants and “some people who are legally present in the United States, such as some domestic violence survivors, Cuban and Haitian entrants, student visa holders and some spouses and children of people with work visas, ”according to the National Immigration Law Center.

These taxpayers have been excluded from various federal relief efforts this year, advocates say, because many of these programs require a Social Security number.

Franchot was among the critics of the SECOURS final act. In a statement after the House passed the back-up plan last week, Franchot said the effort “is significantly insufficient” but has been improved by legislative amendments.

He added that he planned to work with lawmakers to “provide EITC benefits to all eligible Marylanders whether they file their taxes with a Social Security number or an ITIN as soon as possible.”

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