The Maryland House Republican Caucus has introduced a package of bills designed to help businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic.
“We are here today to highlight some pieces of legislation that will provide Maryland’s businesses with consistency, protection, and the tax relief they need to survive the COVID-19 pandemic”, House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, R- Anne Arundel Co., said. “Our party is often criticized for caring too much about business and not enough about people. But businesses are built by people, they are run by people, they create jobs for people. What impacts businesses impacts people and many Maryland businesses are struggling.”
One measure addresses decision-making by county boards of health by requiring clear and understandable guidelines regarding business inspections, citations or orders to cease operation. Businesses, churches and other nonprofits would also be given immunity from civil liability for inadvertently failing to comply with what the sponsors call the hodgepodge of often contradictory state and county health orders issued during the pandemic.
A third bill would exempt a COVID-related distribution from retirement income in 2020 or 2021 tax year from being subject to Maryland income taxes.
Tax credits are also being proposed to families and individuals for certain travel and entertainment related expenses in 2021 or 2022. The sponsor, Delegate Wayne Hartman, R- Eastern Shore, said it would encourage more visitors to locations such as Ocean City.
“This bill is critical to stimulating tourism and travel in Maryland”, Hartman said. “As a representative of Ocean City, I have witnessed first-hand the utter devastation COVID has wrought in the tourism and hospitality sectors of our economy. This tax credit will encourage our citizens to travel to the many beautiful areas of our state that are in tremendous need of their patronage.”