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Norman Augustine
Norman R. Augustine, chairman of a panel examining the state’s business climate. (File)

Md. Senate files Augustine bill package

The Maryland Senate will consider more than a half-dozen proposals stemming from the last year of work by the Maryland Commission on Economic Development and Business Climate.

The package of bills was filed in a last-minute rush of several hundred that were introduced just before a legislative deadline Monday night. All of the bills were based on recommendations made by a bipartisan panel that has come to be known as the Augustine Commission after its chairman Norman Augustine.

The bills were introduced with little fanfare or discussion. Complete details for each of the seven proposals were not immediately available. The legislation is not yet posted on the General Assembly website.

Included in the package are:

  • Senate Bill 840 which proposes an increase in the earned income tax credit beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Senate Bill 841 which allows a subtraction modification for pass through entities for certain individuals earning under $200,000 annually or married couples earning less than $250,000 annually.
  • Senate Bill 842 proposes changing the state’s current three-factor taxing structure for multi-state companies to a single-sales factor.
  • Senate Bill 843 expands the number of tax credit programs under review by a legislative committee and proposes terminating the biotechnology tax credit, new job creating business tax credit, some credits available through the Enterprise Zone Program, the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone Program and the One Maryland Program.
  • Senate Bill 844 proposes changes to the rate of interest on tax deficiencies and refunds.
  • Senate Bill 845 changes the tax rate for companies that repatriate profits held overseas.
  • Senate Bill 846 proposes reducing the state corporate income tax from 8.25 to 7 percent.
  • Senate Bill 847 proposes changes to the estate tax. The Augustine Commission previously recommended speeding up the rate in which Maryland reduces its estate tax to match the federal rate.

Missing from the package is any bill addressing the issue of personal income taxes. The commission, using a report by Moody’s Analytics, identified personal income taxes as one of the largest hinderances to improving the overall climate in the state. Last week Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. signaled an interest in having a discussion on the issue but stopped short of calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to introduce a bill reducing personal income taxes.