Dear President Ferguson, Speaker Jones and Representatives of Anne Arundel County,
WISE is an all-volunteer women-led group who advocates for sensible, equitable, and effective policies at the county, state, and national level. WISE was formed in Anne Arundel County, Maryland after the Women’s March of 2017 and has grown to over 600 members. We advocate for legislation which addresses our priorities, support legislators and candidates whose goals align with our values, and hold elected officials accountable.
We understand that Governor Hogan vetoed two critical pieces of legislation: SB133, Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2021 and HB933 Anne Arundel County – Transfer Tax – Housing Trust Special Revenue Fund. Whether you supported these bills in the general assembly, or originally voted against them, we are asking that you support them during the special session and vote to override the Governor’s veto.
WISE as an organization understands that if we ask for county services to provide public safety, environmental protections, good schools and outdoor recreational spaces, etc., we need sufficient revenue to support them. However, with the toll the pandemic has taken, raising taxes on those who continue to struggle would be unconscionable. We also know there are some who have not been affected financially during this past year, or have even had their wealth increase. It would make sense to ask these folks to carry a slightly larger burden, and many of our friends and neighbors are actually willing to do so. However, with the current flat county tax structure, that is an impossibility. That is why SB133 is so important.
In Anne Arundel County, which already has the lowest income tax rate of the largest five counties, SB133 would allow for a progressive tax structure that protects those who are least able to tolerate a tax increase. Furthermore, it has been shown that tax cuts for lower income households are more likely to be spent at county businesses, therefore benefiting the local economy. This is in contrast to higher income households where money saved from tax cuts are invested in the stock market, or somewhere else outside the local community.[2,3]
Another place where a similar shift in the tax burden can be accomplished is in the area of transfer taxes. HB933 would enable the county to institute a special transfer tax rate on sales of $1M or more, which would affect only 5-7% of properties sold each year in AACo. Again, this bill would enable the county to shift the burden to those who are best able to tolerate it, and protect those who cannot. HB933 sends any revenue associated with this increase to a non-lapsing housing trust fund dedicated to assisting low and moderate income residents.
WISE is asking that you support SB133 and HB933 during the special session and override Governor Hogan’s veto. Give Anne Arundel county the option to maintain adequate county services without imposing tax increases that middle and lower income people cannot bear.