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MD Senate Passes $1.5B COVID-19 Relief Package

Rachel Baye

A nearly $1.5 billion COVID-19 relief package unanimously passed the state Senate Friday. The bill contains a hybrid of proposals from Gov. Larry Hogan and the Senate. 

Among its provisions are stimulus payments totaling up to $750 for taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2019 returns and did or will claim it when they pay their 2020 taxes.


It also has a sales tax break for small businesses that collect sales tax and grants for restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, nonprofits and agricultural businesses. 


But Sen. Steve Hershey, an Eastern Shore Republican, said it may not provide enough relief for seniors.


“Obviously this is an extremely expensive bill,” Hershey said. “I would just ask as we go through the session, that if we’re spending this type of money, can we look toward some ideas that will benefit and help our seniors, as they’ve struggled through this just as much as many other people?”


Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a Prince George’s County Democrat, urged the House to also pass the bill quickly.


“Between the governor’s proposal and our proposals, we’ve got a very good package here that’s going to help people immediately,” Rosapepe said.


Hogan has also urged swift passage.


“I am once again calling on the legislature to pass this bill and get it to my desk as soon as possible so that I can sign it into law, and so that it can take effect immediately,” he said during his State of the State address Wednesday.


Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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