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by Judith Hruz
Legislators are breathing a sigh of relief that the first piece of legislation to pass during the current session of the Maryland General Assembly, is the RELIEF Act of 2021, a bipartisan effort that provides more than $1.5 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for families and small businesses who are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the first piece of legislation to pass both chambers and become law,” Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Dist. 14) said. “This has a meaningful impact for Marylanders. I think it’s part of getting us back on road to recovery.”
Zucker said the District 14 team – he and Del. Anne Kaiser (D), Del. Eric Luedtke (D) and Del. Pamela Queen (D) – was instrumental in getting the bill completed and passed.
The package provides over $1.5 billion in pandemic relief by infusing our state’s economy with $509 million in spending and over $1 billion in tax relief and credits.
“Nothing more important for the legislature to pass,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said.
Luedtke, House majority leader of the legislature, was among the handful of lawmakers who joined Hogan in the signing of the Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs and Families (RELIEF) Act on Feb. 15.
“While there is more work to be done, this is a major step towards helping our families and small businesses recover,” Luedtke said in a press release.
The governor was also joined by Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Dist. 46) of Baltimore, House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Dist. 10) of Baltimore County, Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire (R-Dist. 31) of Anne Arundel County, House Minority Leader Nickolaus Kipke (R-Dist. 31B) of Anne Arundel County and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Guy Guzzone (D-Dist. 13) of Howard County.
Hogan called the legislation “a real lifeline” for those hardest hit in Maryland and thanked lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for working diligently and swiftly to pass the bill by a nearly unanimous vote.
“It is almost unheard of for any major piece of legislation to pass in such a short period of time and with such universal bipartisan support,” the governor said. “At a time when so many Americans have stopped believing that democracy can work for them. As Washington remains divided and gridlocked, Maryland has once again shown the nation that both parties can still come together, that we can put the people’s priorities first, and that we can deliver real, bipartisan, common-sense solutions to the serious problems that face us.”
Ferguson and Jones also thanked Hogan and the legislators for their effort.
“We have a governor who sees we all represent the same people,” Jones said.
The speaker said it is “not a “Democrat bill, not a Republican bill.”
“We thank everyone here who made this possible,” she added.
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