ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed a new $1 billion economic relief package to help Marylanders and small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hogan’s COVID relief effort includes offering $750 stimulus payments for lower-income families and $450 for low-income individuals who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Low-income households would receive a first payment of $300 to $500 and then a second installment of $150 to $250.
According to Hogan’s office, Marylanders would qualify for these payments who annually earn:
• $50,954 (or $56,844 for married couples filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
• $47,440 (or $53,330 for married couples filing jointly) with two qualifying children
• $41,756 (or $47,646 for married couples filing jointly) with one qualifying child
• $15,820 (or $21,710 for married couples filing jointly) with no qualifying children.
The governor estimates the state checks will help more than 400,000 Marylanders. No application is needed, Hogan said.
The governor’s program, dubbed the Relief Act, will need to be approved by the Maryland General Assembly.
The new package would also waive state and local taxes on unemployment benefits. Hogan’s proposal also offers $300 million worth of sales tax credits for as many as 55,000 small businesses and puts in safeguards for businesses, so their tax burdens do not go up because they received COVID-related grants or loans.
“Everybody generally agrees with most of the things we are talking about,” Hogan said.
The Republican governor also hopes for quick passage of the COVID relief effort because of the economic hardships faced by workers and small businesses. “We can’t waste a lot of time. This is not something that should be debated until the end of the legislative session in April,” Hogan said on Monday during a briefing in Annapolis.
“With the start of a new 2021 legislative session on Wednesday, we are now asking the legislative branch to assist by immediately passing this stimulus and tax relief package to help even more struggling families and small businesses across our state,” Hogan said. “We will be introducing the RELIEF Act of 2021 as emergency legislation on day one. We will ask both houses of the legislature to act on it immediately, so that I can immediately sign it into law, and these relief measures can take effect — all so that we can immediately get these much-needed dollars out the door and into the pockets of those who desperately need it.”
The state has already put $700 million toward helping mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic. That includes help for small businesses, bars and restaurants, hotels, farms and other industries.
Hogan’s package does not include the $2,000 state stimulus checks proposed by Comptroller Peter Franchot.
Franchot wants state stimulus checks sent to individuals with children who make $50,000 or less and families who make $100,000 or less annually.