February 24, 2017 by Natalie Neill in Blog, Budget and Tax, Economic Opportunity
Over the next couple of months, as Marylanders file their income taxes and many anxiously wait for state refunds, legislators will be considering whether to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is widely hailed by Democrats and Republicans alike as a critical, effective, and fair program that rewards hard work and boosts the economy. Yet, Maryland’s credit leaves out thousands of low-wage workers. Young people and workers without children get little or no benefit from the existing credit, even if they have very low incomes. Many people who work for low wages go deeper into poverty because they don’t qualify for meaningful tax breaks.[i] Proposed legislation (Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 2) would be a step in the right direction. These bills would: Eliminate the requirement that an individual must be at least 25 years old to claim the credit Increase the income thresholds at…
read more
February 15, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog, Economic Opportunity, Education
The cost of child care is on the rise around the country, and Maryland families have it especially hard. Our child care costs are the fifth highest in the country, with families paying nearly $14,000 per year to keep an infant in good hands while parents work. That’s why Maryland lawmakers have been calling on the governor to increase our state’s investment in child care assistance and why two bills this year could help bring child care assistance more in line with costs in the marketplace. By Airman 1st Class Hunter Brady. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons In 2015, about 10,000 families in Maryland were better able to afford child care thanks to the state’s child care subsidies—which means thousands of children experience a safe, engaging environment and thousands of parents are able to go to work each day—but inadequate funding and high fees still put child care out of…
read more
February 7, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog, Budget and Tax
State tax policies often are a culprit in increasing income inequality. Maryland now ranks 24th in the nation for income disparity between the richest 5 percent of households and the poorest 20 percent, despite past attempts to close the gap. There are additional steps we can take to change public policies that contribute to income inequality in our states. A snapshot of income inequality in Maryland shows that households in the top 5 percent have incomes that are, on average, 14 times more per year than households in the bottom 20 percent. That figure doesn’t include capital gains income, a significant source of income for many of the wealthiest Marylanders. This problem, of course, extends beyond Maryland. Nationwide, the wealthiest of households have enjoyed several decades of much larger gains in income than the rest of Americans. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has developed recommendations for ways in…
read more
January 31, 2017 by MDCEP in Blog, Budget and Tax, Economic Opportunity
The Maryland we know today exists because of people who came here, and continue to come here, from around the world to build their lives and raise their families. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Baltimore’s port was second only to Ellis Island in the numbers of new immigrants who came here seeking a better life. While the countries of origin may have changed, Maryland has continued to be a place where immigrants and refugees find safety, community, and opportunity. This history has helped to create the economically and culturally thriving community we have in Maryland today. As the debate about immigration and refugee policy continues on the national stage, it’s worth keeping in mind the many ways we all benefit from our state’s long legacy as a welcoming community. The following are highlights of our past analysis looking at how immigration policy affects our state and local…
read more
January 18, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog, Economic Opportunity
Despite several years of modest growth since the Great Recession, the benefits of our state’s improving economy are still out of reach for the majority of Marylanders. Since 2007, hourly wages for a typical Maryland worker have failed to keep up with inflation, and the lowest-paid workers have seen the purchasing power of their hourly wages fall by more than 7 percent, as of 2015. In fact, hourly pay for low-wage workers has not grown by a single cent since 1979, after adjusting for inflation. One reason why so many working people are falling behind at a time when incomes for the wealthiest are soaring is the failure of the minimum wage to keep up with the rising cost of living. Raising the minimum wage would put more money in the hands of people who are now working but struggling to get by on low wages, which would mean stronger…
read more
January 17, 2017 by Natalie Neill in 2017 session, Blog, Budget and Tax
This morning, Gov. Larry Hogan set the stage for another year of missed opportunities for investing in Maryland’s future as he promised his next budget will provide even less money for state services, as a whole, than the current budget does. Despite the governor’s claims that this won’t harm the services Marylanders rely on every day, the fact is that the state is already falling short in many areas. We see it in the form of longer waiting lists, fewer supports for families who are struggling to make ends meet, and the inability to make meaningful new investments in Maryland’s future. Some of the unmet needs in the current state budget are outlined in our new report. This year could be an excellent opportunity to build on our state’s strong economic foundation and continue on the path toward broad prosperity. However, the governor’s expected limited spending on already underfunded programs…
read more
January 13, 2017 by Kali Schumitz in 2017 session, Blog
Lawmakers began considering hundreds of bills as the Maryland General Assembly began its 90-day legislative session this week. At least a handful of these bills have the potential to affect prosperity for average Marylanders for years to come. Here are a few key issues we’ll be watching this year. Earned sick days. Everyone gets sick at some point but more than 700,000 Marylanders still can’t take time off work to go to a doctor or care for a sick child. It’s past time that Maryland follow the lead of other states and cities and ensure that all Marylanders can earn sick leave. Paid sick leave ensures that workers can afford to take time off work when their sick, without losing income they need to pay for things like utilities and food. This not only benefits those workers; paid leave has been shown to improve public health, which can reduce health…
read more
January 4, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog, Budget and Tax
The governor’s budget proposal, expected later this month, is likely to include some cuts to the public services that Marylanders rely on. This move won’t change the fact that, in the long term, the state lacks sufficient resources to maintain the things that make Maryland a great place to live and work – like good schools and safe communities. To address the budget imbalance without weakening the vital public services that support our state economy, policymakers should call on the wealthiest and large corporations to pay their fair share for the services we all benefit from. In December, the General Assembly’s Spending Affordability Committee met to recommend spending levels for Maryland’s next state budget. Like the committee’s briefings earlier this fall, the recommendations were dominated by news of lower-than-expected revenues. Thanks to slower than expected economic growth, revenues have not kept pace with predictions, leading to a fiscal imbalance. Last…
read more
January 2, 2017 by Natalie Neill in Blog, Budget and Tax, Economic Opportunity
A pair of Maryland job creation tax credits is doing little to boost the state’s economy, at the expense of state investments that would support economic growth. The Job Creation Tax Credit and the Businesses that Create New Jobs Tax Credit provide breaks on local property and state taxes. After 20 years, the record shows these credits have done little to promote job creation and primarily benefit large businesses already present in the state – at the cost of investments proven to build the economy like education, healthcare and transportation. A recently released Department of Legislative Services review of the tax credits found they are overly complex, help few businesses, overlap with existing credits, and primarily benefit very large companies.   Since 2001, the Jobs Creation credit has cost the state $21.8 million. While the companies claiming the credit certified about 17,700 new jobs during that period, there is good…
read more
December 29, 2016 by Ellen Hutton in Blog
Maryland has deep history of being a welcoming community for new immigrant populations. This is one way in which we’ve shown our compassion for families fleeing war-torn parts of the world, and this history has helped create the economically and culturally thriving community we have today. Looking at one example, Syrian immigrants have a history of successfully integrating in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which has one of the highest Syrian populations of metro areas around the country. This past success and local support system bodes well for the futures of Syrian refugees who recently arrived in Maryland, according to a new report. Syrian refugees have faced years of war and potentially deadly journeys in search of safety. When seeking resettlement in the US, they go through what is often a nearly two-year screening process and in the meantime must put their lives on hold, unable to work or go…
read more
Next Page »