ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan today signed the bipartisan RELIEF Act of 2021, which delivers more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for struggling families and small businesses who are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor was joined by Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire, House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Guy Guzzone.
Following are the governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
In a few moments, we will sign Senate Bill 496, the RELIEF Act of 2021, into law. This emergency legislation will immediately provide more than a billion dollars in urgently needed tax relief and economic stimulus for struggling Maryland families, small businesses, and those who have lost their jobs due to the global pandemic.
As a result of this bipartisan legislation, people who have lost their jobs will not have to pay any state and local income taxes on their unemployment benefits, letting them keep more money in their pockets.
Tax relief for small businesses will let them keep up to $9,000 in their pockets over the next 90 days so they can keep their doors open and keep more people on the payroll. And small businesses will now be protected against any sudden or substantial increase in their unemployment taxes.
In addition, direct relief checks will go out to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders in need and families will receive expanded tax relief through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The legislation also provides more than $100 million in additional grants to businesses and nonprofit organizations on top of the $700 million in state relief we have already provided. The RELIEF Act offers a real lifeline to those hardest hit people who are struggling to get by and small businesses desperately trying to stay afloat.
I introduced this emergency legislation at the start of the legislative session just a few weeks ago. I said that there wasn’t anything that could possibly be more important for the legislature to pass, and I asked the legislature to work with us in a bipartisan way to help those Marylanders who really needed our help. Today I want to sincerely thank the leaders on both sides of the aisle for coming together to pass this measure with near unanimous support.
It is almost unheard of for any major piece of legislation to pass in such a short period of time and with such universal bipartisan support. At a time when so many Americans have stopped believing that democracy can work for them. As Washington remains divided and gridlocked, Maryland has once again shown the nation that both parties can still come together, that we can put the people’s priorities first, and that we can deliver real, bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us.
We still face a long and difficult winter ahead, and many Marylanders are still in need, but our vaccination rate is rising every day. As we get more shots into the arms of our most vulnerable citizens and all of our key health metrics are continuing to decline, and now with this RELIEF Act being signed into law, even more tax relief and economic stimulus help is on the way for our struggling families and small businesses.