News Column

Busch, Miller propose legislative agenda including reduction in estate tax

January 25, 2014

ALEX JACKSON ajackson@capgaznewscom; By ALEX JACKSON ajackson@capgaznews.com

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch joined Democratic legislative leadership and business groups Friday to announce a package of legislation that includes a plan to reduce the estate tax. The General Assembly's presiding officers are rallying around a plan to reduce the estate tax as part of a plan to boost economic development in Maryland . Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr . and House Speaker Michael E. Busch joined Democratic legislative leadership and business groups Friday to announce the package of legislation. The group wants to raise Maryland's estate tax exemption to the $5.34 million federal estate tax exemption over a four-year period. Busch, D- Annapolis , and Miller, D- Calvert , also announced a private sector-led commission is being formed to look at the state's economic development structure and incentive programs. The commission, to be announced in the next two weeks, will make recommendations to the presiding officers by the end of the year. The commission will be chaired by Norman Augustine , former acting secretary of the Army , president of Lockheed Martin and chairman of the American Red Cross . "As we come out of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, we need to rebuild private sector confidence to invest and expand in Maryland's economy," said Busch. While the proposals announced Friday have not been formally introduced in the General Assembly , the presiding officers' backing gives the agenda a great chance of passage. Along with a plan to raise the state's estate tax exemption, the agenda includes a proposal to create a "seed fund" that would invest up to $100,000 in early-stage cybersecurity and privacy companies, and encourage private sector investment in those companies. Busch and Miller also proposed legislation that would bolster science and technology research at state universities by allowing state and private funding of endowed chairs at schools. The agenda further includes legislation that would require Comptroller Peter Franchot to place a graphic with each Maryland tax return showing how tax dollars are being spent. All of the proposals included in Busch and Miller's agenda are expected to be introduced over the course of the next week. Go to the Under The Dome blog at www.capitalgazette.com/blogs/ under_the_dome/ to keep up with the latest on the General Assembly session. www.twitter.com/thealexjackson


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Source: Capital (Annapolis, MD)


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