Relief Bill, COVID-19 Pandemic, Expected To Be Top Issues For 2021 Maryland General Assembly

Senator Michael Hough meets with Governor to discuss these issues.                                                   









Annapolis, Md (KM) Tax relief for Marylanders is a top priority for Frederick County State Senator Michael Hough. .He says he supports the $1-billion package proposed by Governor Larry Hogan, which includes $267-million in direct payments  for Marylanders in need. There’s also an additional $750 weekly for families  who  have filed for the earned income tax credit, and individuals will receive $450.

There’s also $300-million in immediate aid to restaurants and small businesses  which allows them to keep up to $12,000 of sales tax payments over the next four months. There’s also $18-million in tax relief for Marylanders who have lost their jobs by repealing all state and local income taxes on unemployment compensation.

“This Governor, myself, we’ve all thought for a long time that Maryland is overtaxed in general,” Hough says. “So anytime that we can provide tax relief and stop tax increases from the General Assembly.”

Senator Hough adds that this bill is urgently needed. “General Assembly, we need act on that and get that passed as soon as possible,” he says. “It’s emergency legislation so as soon as we pass, it can go into effect, and we start getting those checks and relief out to Marylanders.”

The Governor unveiled some of the highlights of his budget on Tuesday afternoon.

Senator Hough also said the coronavirus pandemic is another issue which is expected  to come before legislators this year. He says the Governor told him that there are a lot of people in Maryland who need to be vaccinated, but there’s not enough vaccine. “He was saying there’s about three-million Marylanders that are in the first classification  that are high risk, and we’ve only gotten about half-million in total of these in. So they’re only getting a couple thousand a week,” says Hough

In addition, Hough says he’s not happy with how Frederick County is distributing the vaccines. “I’ve been upset that we’ve had senior citizens waiting for hours outside in the cold. Not having a good system on line; not having a call center. That’s just not a good way to do things. We’ve got to do a better job. Government’s got to do a better job getting these out,” he says.

The Frederick County Health Department says it has set up a call center for residents who want the vaccine, but don’t have access to the Internet.

But Hough  hopes more private sector involvement will make a big difference. “Right now, we’re going through the county Health Department. But pretty soon, they’ll go in places like Giant and the other private sector companies that are getting ’em out. I hope that will speed it up some because quite frankly, I think the private sector companies will be a little bit more efficient with getting them out,” he says.

Last week, Governor announced that a pilot program will be set up to let pharmacies at Giant Food and Wal Mart stores administer the vaccine.


By Kevin McManus