First off, yesterday was the beginning of Hanukkah. I want to wish all my Jewish friends and neighbors a wonderful Festival of Lights and holiday season. Today I have some updates on legislative issues for the upcoming 2021 General Assembly Session which begins in January and some local news as well.
Carroll County Times OpEd – Fighting Tobacco & Digital Ad Taxes
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Digital Ad Tax and what that will mean to Marylanders. As we approach the start of the 2021 General Assembly Legislative Session, which begins in January, the first item of business that will be taken up, by rule, is consideration of vetoes by Governor Hogan. In the closing days of the 2020 Session, which was abbreviated due to COVID-19, General Assembly Democrats rushed through several tax increases and creation of a new tax combined into one bill. Public input was nearly non-existent due to the condensed nature of those closing days of session and the fact that several bills had been combined into one. The legislation, House Bill 732 – the Tobacco Tax, Sales and Use Tax, and Digital Ad Tax, is a deeply flawed proposal. Among the taxes and fees it will raise are the following: 1) create a new tax on every single person and business that advertises their services online, from the smallest mom and pop to the largest corporation, 2) tax all electronic smoking devices at a rate of 12% and vaping liquid at an astronomical 60% and 3) increase the per-pack cigarette tax from $2 to an unbelievable $3.75 per pack. To read my full OpEd click here.
Ready Legislation to Require Voter ID
It's never been more clear - there are huge trust issues with our elections. One of the most straightforward and common sense ways to insure proper elections is for Maryland to join the vast majority of other states in requiring identification to vote. This Session, I’ll be submitting legislation that will require identification to vote and working with other Republican Senators on additional election security items. We've tried to do this in the past - the time is now. Are you aware that:
Open Space Funding Approved for Hampstead War Memorial Park
Last week, the Board of Public Works approved a request from the Department of Natural Resources to commit $26,902 from the Program Open Space funding allocated to Carroll County. Money will be used for tree work, a new entry sign, two bench swings, and site work for a walking path and future bandstand at War Memorial Park in Hampstead. (By the way- there is currently a beautiful Christmas light display at the park for those who are looking for some Christmas cheer!)
My staff and I can be always reached at Justin.Ready@senate.state.md.us or by calling 410-841-3683. My personal email is SenatorReady@gmail.com. Both email and voicemail are checked regularly. My team and I will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.