(The Center Square) – A wealth of bipartisan bills were signed into law Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said.
Wrapping up the 2022 Legislative Session, Maryland’s Republican leader since 2015 signed 79 bills that include tax relief for state residents, especially retirees, and help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hogan praised the Democrat-controlled Legislature for its work over the past three months.
“I would say this has been our most successful session yet,” Hogan said in a release. “We enacted the largest tax cut package in state history to provide $2 billion of tax relief for retirees, struggling families, and small businesses. We enacted a fiscally responsible and balanced budget. For the eighth year in a row, we’ve record-funded education. We’ve increased investments in our police, first responders, and public safety.”
While a high number of bipartisan bills were enacted, the governor admitted that he has always agreed with the Legislature when it comes to the contents of bills drafted.
“We haven’t always agreed 100% of the time, but I really do want to thank the legislators on both sides of the aisle for working together with us in a bipartisan way, not just in this most recent legislative session, but over the past eight years, and it’s greatly appreciated. For eight years we’ve sent a very clear message that unlike just down the road in Washington, where there seems to be more divisiveness and dysfunction, we actually can come together in a bipartisan way to change things for the better.”
House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, D-Baltimore County, said in a tweet, “Every year, we do our best to make life better for our residents.
“The 79 bills that we signed today are just a fraction of what we’ve done to fuel economic recovery from the bottom up and reinforce the foundation of our economy – Maryland’s families.”
Among the bills enacted is the state’s largest tax cut at almost $2 billion. In addition to granting relief to retirees with tax cuts, the release says relief for taxes, tolls, and fees during Hogan’s seven years in office is just shy of $5 billion.
The gerrymandering issue, according to the release, was also rectified with the governor putting a new Congressional map into law, and providing a balanced, fiscally sound budget featuring a strong Rainy Day Fund.
In addition, the state has funded the police with more than $500 million that will be used to bolster efforts through recruitment and retention while increasing diversity and widening community policing efforts. Funds will also be used to provide for better training and de-escalation practices while also providing body cameras and other crime-fighting technology.
Through the legislative session, the state is also increasing funding for schools, school choice programs, and school construction, according to the release. Scholarships for low-income students are also an aspect of legislation, which will allow students from underperforming schools to attend private schools.
During the session, the More Jobs For Marylanders Act 3.0 was passed. The measure provides economic initiatives designed to give tax incentives to new and existing manufacturing companies that plan to locate or expand in the state while creating new jobs in opportunity zones.