The Maryland General Assembly is currently deliberating on multiple bills related to property tax credits and exemptions. Among them is a proposal to expand eligibility for property tax credits to disabled law enforcement officers and rescue workers who meet specific criteria.
Presently, disabled law enforcement officers and rescue workers are eligible for a property tax credit in Maryland if they acquired their dwelling within ten years of being “adjudged to be permanently and totally disabled.” If a law enforcement officer or rescue worker dies, their surviving spouse can claim the tax credit if the dwelling was acquired within ten years of the officer’s death.
However, Senate Bill 435 and House Bill 508, which are identical measures, seek to decrease the existing domicile dwelling timeframe from ten to five years. The bills aim to extend the eligibility for the property tax credit to a disabled law enforcement officer, rescue worker, or surviving spouse who was domiciled in the state at any time within five years before becoming disabled or dying.
The Maryland Association of Counties and Fraternal Order of Police Montgomery County Lodge 35 have expressed support for the proposed bills and urged lawmakers to vote in favor of them.
Lee Holland, President of the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, wrote in a support letter, “This bill addresses a specific challenge for disabled Montgomery County officers, as well as other law enforcement, in that, in many cases, they are not able to supplement their retirement incomes after retiring from their agencies, as most other retirees are. This issue is particularly prominent in the State of Maryland, with its close proximity to the United States Capitol and other federal agencies since a large proportion of federal law enforcement members live in our state, which has higher than national average costs of living.”
The proposals would also require local governments to define “disabled law enforcement officer” and “rescue worker” to determine eligibility for the tax credit. The Maryland Association of Counties expressed support for the approach, stating that local governments should be given the autonomy to decide how to offer incentives to their community.
SB 435 and HB 508 are not expected to have any fiscal impact at the state level. However, a fiscal analysis suggests that local tax revenues could decline at the start of the fiscal year 2024 if the property tax credit is authorized and additional taxpayers become eligible for it.
Both SB 435 and HB 508 passed unanimously out of their original chambers and are currently being heard in the opposite chambers.