BALTIMORE — Governor Larry Hogan on Wednesday proposed a package of legislation aimed at expanding tuition assistance for Maryland National Guard members, providing tax relief for military retirees, and reforming occupational licensing laws to create jobs and boost opportunities for military families.
The announcement was made at the Joint Force Headquarters, Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.
“Last month, we wrapped up our celebration of 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland, but we can never do enough to raise awareness—every year should be a year to show our appreciation for the brave service and sacrifice our United States veterans and families have made for Maryland and for our nation,” said Governor Hogan. “With the legislation we are introducing today, we are continuing to demonstrate our strong support for our military retirees, active duty military personnel and their families, and for our National Guard soldiers and airmen.”
Maryland is home to 370,000 veterans, 29,000 active duty military personnel, 19,000 reservists, and nearly 6,000 members of our National Guard.
As part of Hogan's proposal, the state would be able to reimburse up to 100% of in-state tuition for undergraduate and graduate courses for all current Guard members. Under current rules, Maryland reimburses up to 50%. Hogan's newly proposed FY21 budget includes a 200% increase to the Maryland National Guard State Tuition Assistance Reimbursement program.
Governor Hogan will again introduce legislation to eliminate all state taxes on retirement income received as a result of military service. In 2015, Hogan enacted legislation to increase the tax exemption on military retiree pensions from $5,000 to $10,000 for retirees 65 years or older, and in 2018, he again enacted legislation that increased the exemption by 50% to $15,000 and lowered the eligibility age to 55. He has also re-introduced the Hometown Heroes Act to provide tax relief for law enforcement and first responders.
Finally, Hogan announced that he's introducing new legislation that would create jobs and boost opportunities for veterans and military families by recognizing occupational licenses from other states.
The bill would allow military families moving to Maryland to more quickly and easily find jobs and opportunities in the state.
Only active military, military spouses, and veterans with licenses issued by the Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses would qualify.
The Maryland VA also announced the expansion of certain services being offered to local veterans at regional MVA branches . Currently only the Glen Burnie location offers services, but now Salisbury, Hagerstown, and Bel Air will too.