In an airport hangar home to the state’s Air National Guard, the first veteran to serve as governor of Maryland in 36 years will sign into law a half-dozen measures aimed at helping retired and active service members and their families.
The bill-signing will be Gov. Wes Moore’s sixth such event as he moves through the process of finalizing more than 800 bills state lawmakers passed during the annual 90-day legislative session that finished last month.
Deviating from the routine ceremonial signing events at the State House in Annapolis, this group of bills will become law with a backdrop of military aircraft at Martin State Airport in Middle River.
Moore, a Democrat who served as a U.S. Army captain, sponsored two of the bills on the agenda — one that offers new health care coverage for members of the Maryland National Guard and another that expands tax cuts for retired veterans.
Moore has called that pairing “the most aggressive push” to support those communities in “generations,” though lawmakers scaled back the benefits he originally proposed and publicly lobbied for.
The Keep Our Heroes Home Act (House Bill 554 and Senate Bill 553) was one of three bills the governor sponsored and personally testified in support of on two separate occasions during the session.
Once signed, it will allow Maryland residents earning military retirement income to exempt up to $20,000 of that income from state taxes if they are age 55 or older and up to $12,500 if they are younger than 55. Existing law exempts $15,000 for the older age group and $5,000 for the younger one.
State officials estimate the change will benefit about 33,000 military retirees and cost the state about $11 million in the next fiscal year and slightly more in the following years. Moore’s original proposal called for exempting up to $40,000 of military retirement income from state taxes regardless of age, which would have cost the state about $31 million in the first year and $50 million annually afterward, according to an initial legislative fiscal analysis.
You could read more of this Baltimore Sun article here.