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Hogan seeks tax cuts for retired veterans

Governor Hogan speaks Thursday on his plan to deliver tax cuts for veterans as Maryland Veterans Affairs Secretary George W. Owings III looks on.  (Photo by Bryan P. Sears)

Governor Hogan speaks Thursday on his plan to deliver tax cuts for veterans as Maryland Veterans Affairs Secretary George W. Owings III looks on. (Photo by Bryan P. Sears)

ANNAPOLIS — Hoping to leverage an election year to secure a tax cut, Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday said he would again propose legislation to eliminate taxes on the pensions of retired veterans.

Hogan, who provided few specifics on the proposal, said the effort would be the next step toward his goal of ultimately eliminating taxes on retirement incomes. The governor hinted that the proposal he outlined Thursday could be the first of other tax cut proposals.

“We’re gonna push like heck to get it done,” Hogan said. “It’s an election year so there’s even more pressure than normal on some of those folks.”

The bill would likely build upon tax exemptions championed by Hogan earlier in his term which was doubled from the first $5,000 of retirement income to $10,000.

Pennsylvania and West Virginia fully exempt military retirement income. Delaware offers a partial exemption, according to the governor’s office.

Hogan sought a 100 percent exemption last year. That billed died in both House and Senate Committees.

“I think that there are the votes in the legislature to get it done and we just have to convince the leadership to bring it to the floor,” Hogan said before directing his comment to some of the retired military members gathered in the governor’s reception room.”It’s easy to just hide behind ‘just stick it in a drawer and pretend like it doesn’t (exist)’ but if it comes to the floor it’s very hard to look you all in the eye and say ‘We don’t think you deserve it.”

Aides to the governor said the bill Hogan would seek to introduce early next year would be “similar” to the 2017 bill, but declined to provide details on how the bill would differ, if at all.

Similarly, Hogan declined to provide details about the legislation, including how much the credit would reduce state revenues, during his news conference.

“We’re going to be rolling out the details of the bill sometime before the legislative session in January, but really not going to be discussing it before then,” Hogan said.

The bill Hogan favored in 2017 proposed a 100 percent elimination on military retiree payments. The exemption would reduce state revenues by a projected $417.4 million in fiscal 2019 and grow to nearly $32 million in fiscal 2022, according to a legislative analysis.

Hogan said he may also be considering other tax cut proposals.

“We’ve had tax cuts three years in a row. I would imagine we’re, we’re proposing one today so yes there will be probably be some proposals for tax cuts,” Hogan said. “We’re going to keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing the last three years.”


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