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General assembly passes tax break for baby products

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Two bills aimed at easing the financial load of baby and toddler care that are part of a larger Budget Booster tax cut package passed the Senate unanimously Thursday.

Under one bill, baby bottles, baby bottle nipples, and infant car seats will be exempt from Maryland’s 6% sales and use tax.

Under the other bill, diapers — and, as a result of a last-minute friendly amendment from Howard County Democrat Sen. Guy Guzzone — diaper cream and baby wipes will be exempt from the tax.

Calling himself “an expert on diapers,” Republican leader Sen. Brian Simonaire, a father of seven, expressed strong support for the amendment.

During a committee hearing last month, Delegates Dana Jones, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, and Brian Crosby, a Democrat from St. Mary’s County said constituents’ concerns over the cost of baby products during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic inspired the bills.

Legislation providing similar exemptions has passed in states such as Connecticut, Florida, and Minnesota.

If the bills are signed by Gov. Larry Hogan they will take effect July 1 and are expected to cost the state nearly $10 million dollars in lost tax revenue during the next fiscal year.