March 5, 2019

Senate Unanimously Passes Hester Property Tax Bill To Benefit Maryland Seniors

In a Monday evening vote of the Maryland Senate, the body unanimously passed legislation to alter an existing state property tax credit for Maryland residents who are 65 years of age or older. Present state law allows a tax credit (that may not exceed 20% of the country or municipal property tax imposed on the property and may be granted for up to five years) for individuals 65 years of age or older who have lived in their homes for 40 years or more. Senate Bill 654 gives authority to counties and municipalities to lower the number of years of residency required to claim that credit.

The legislation is sponsored by Senator Katie Fry Hester (District 9 – Howard and Carroll Counties) and is the first piece of the legislation that the Freshman Senator has successfully guided through the Senate. Hester explained the legislation in a February 20th hearing of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. She explained: “The average age of homebuyers is 32 and the median age is 44. The current tax credit is not helpful, because the age to claim it is often 84 (or older).”

Hester is joined in bipartisan co-sponsorship of the legislation by thirteen Senate colleagues including Senators Eckardt (District 37 – Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties), Edwards (District 1 – Allegany, Garrett, and Washington Counties), Elfreth (District 30 – Anne Arundel County), Ferguson (District 46 – Baltimore City), Griffith (District 25 – Prince George’s County), Guzzone (District 13 – Howard County), King (District 39 – Montgomery County), McCray (District 45 – Baltimore City), Peters (District 23 – Prince George’s County), Rosapepe (District 21 – Prince George’s and Anne Arundel), Salling (District 6 – Baltimore County), and Serafini (District 2 – Washington County).

The legislation now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. Senate Bill 654 is cross-filed with House Bill 1339 which is sponsored by Delegate Michele Guyton (District 42B – Baltimore County). Both Senate Bill 654 and House Bill 1339 now await consideration by the House of Delegates and no hearing information is available at this time. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.