Editors' Pick

Best news for MoCo from the State Legislature

It was a case of political horse trading—and, in this instance, some equines were literally involved. Baltimore legislators wanted $375 million aimed in large part at rejuvenating Pimlico Race Course, home to the Preakness. Before agreeing to go along, the legislative delegation from Montgomery County wanted something in return—and got it in the form of relief from a $150 million county tax obligation arising from a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case. In Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne, the high court ruled that the state must provide full credit for income taxes paid by Maryland residents to other states. The state government reimbursed residents who were owed credits on the local portion of their income taxes, and then prepared to collect that money from Maryland counties, which succeeded in legislatively postponing the start of repayment of the obligation until fiscal year 2021. Montgomery County is responsible for $150 million of the $250 million currently owed by the counties: The County Tax Fairness Act, sponsored by Del. Marc Korman (D-Bethesda) and co-sponsored by all 23 of his colleagues in the Montgomery House delegation, allows repayment to the state to be spread over 80 quarters (20 years) rather than the 20 quarters (five years) originally envisioned. Enactment of the bill last March came as COVID-19 was taking hold, providing some breathing space from the financial fallout of the pandemic.