Category Archives: Legislative – State Blog

Letters to State Legislators Concerning Decoupling Federal and State Tax Returns

Letter to State Delegate William J. Wivell (Push down arrow in each header to see the PDF in letters)

Wivell Letter_paf

Letter to State Senator Brian Feldman

Feldman Letter_paf

Letter to State Senator James Rosapepe

Rosapepe Letter_paf_16Oct20

2021 State Legislative Program Pamphlet

2021 State Legislative Program Pamphlet is on the Maryland State Legislative Committee page.

State Legislation Report – Autumn 2020

Paul Schwartz, State Legislation Committee Chair

Tax unfairness as an important issue that affects the taxpayers of Maryland is not an issue that has disappeared. What has disappeared is any interest on the part of the Maryland State legislature to do anything about it. Remember that when your state representatives come to solicit your vote. Remember to hold them accountable for not fighting for tax fairness. Remember to ask them why they didn’t fight to “decouple” your state return from your federal return so that you could continue to itemize on your state return even if you wanted to take the standard deduction on your federal return.

However, tax fairness is not the only issue that affects YOU. Pharmaceutical pricing is also an issue that affects us all and addressing the high price of pharmaceuticals is an issue that calls out for our support at both the federal and state levels.

As was the case with the federal tax plan needing the state legislature to mitigate the negative impact on Maryland taxpayers, a need that the legislature failed to address, the issue of high priced pharmaceuticals is likewise an issue that needs the state to mitigate the failure of the federal government to pass meaningful legislation regarding pharmaceuticals. HR3 designed to address pharmaceutical pricing was passed by the House of Representatives in March of 2019 but has sat on Mitch McConnell’s desk along with a whole host of other critical and much needed legislation. McConnell doesn’t refer to himself as the “grim reaper” for nothing. It is a title he has earned.

However, there is hope at the state level. Health Care for All/Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative has worked closely with the state legislature and has played a key role in the creation of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB). The board has seen bipartisan support but legislation to provide a funding source has been recently vetoed by Governor Hogan. The board has temporary funding and it is expected that the state legislature has enough votes to override the governor’s veto. At this point the Board is continuing its work to identify exactly how the high cost of drugs is hurting average Marylanders just like you.

That is where you come in. It is our intention to join forces with the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative and AARP to support legislation that makes an impact on reducing the high price of pharmaceuticals. To achieve that end we are asking you to share your stories on how the high price of pharmaceuticals directly impacted you. You can share your stories on http://healthcareforall.com/2019/06/paying-too-much-for-prescription-drugs/. You can also receive more information on this initiative at the https://bit.ly/PDAB2020.

This is an issue that is also worthy of soliciting support from your state legislators when they show up to seek your vote. It is also of note that Montgomery County Senator Brian Feldman is the Co-Chair of the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission. You may remember that Senator Feldman was a strong supporter of the tax fairness legislation that we have been fighting for the last several years.

Testimony on HB 788 2020

Watch and listen to testimony on HB 788 before the Maryland House Ways & Means Committee on February 21st.

Wait for the video to appear then click on the 6th gold dot gold dotfrom the left for the testimony. Press play (the triangle on the left). Lastly click on the upper video.

Senate Bill 486 DECOUPLING

Senate Bill 486 decouples itemizing on the federal tax return from the state in regards to itemizing deductions. The hearing before the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee on DECOUPLING bill, SB 486, is next Wednesday, February 12th. Paul Schwartz believes it will be around 1:00 and plans to testify in support of that bill. Filling the seats with supporters will help and sitting next to AARP at the witness table will also help.

Senate Bill 486