ATTENTION MARYLAND ADVOCATES: WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY TO PASS THE MARYLAND ABLE BILL!!!
We have worked for nearly a decade at the federal level and now at the state level to pass the ABLE so that people with disabilities can open up 529A “ABLE” Accounts to say money for many different disability-related expenses without losing their eligibility for much-needed benefits like SSI and Medicaid. (See www.ndss.org/able and www.ndss.org/stateable for more information on ABLE).
Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill to establish a Maryland ABLE program Task Force. The Task Force met over the course of 2015, determined how the Maryland ABLE program should be structured, and released a report with its recommendations in December 2015. Included in the Task Force Report was a recommendation that contributors to ABLE accounts be offered the same $2500/year deduction benefit as people who establish regular 529 college savings accounts. The Task Force concluded that this was the fair, equitable thing to do – people who contribute to an ABLE account for the benefit of a person with a disability should receive the same level of benefit as is granted to regular 529 accounts.
The Maryland ABLE bill went through hearings last week in both the House and Senate, and was very well-received. HOWEVER, WE ARE NOW HEARING THAT SENATOR SERAFINI HAS PROPOSED AN AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE BILL (SB 355) TO REMOVE THE TAX DEDUCTION BENEFIT FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO ABLE ACCOUNTS as a way to keep the costs of the bill down. This Is unacceptable, and we need you to act quickly. THE AMENDMENT WILL BE VOTED ON TOMORROW MORNING AT 9am!!!
The companion bill, HB 431, is also encountering difficulties on the House side. The subcommittee staff are considering limiting the number of ABLE accounts that would be available and providing a sunset provision for the program (so it would expire in a few years).
PLEASE MAKE THE FOLLOWING CALLS TODAY BEFORE 5:00pm:
(1) CALL SEN. KASEMEYER (Chairman of Senate Budget & Tax Committee) - 410-841-3653-
Thank you for your support of SB 355, which will establish the MD ABLE programPlease oppose any amendment that would remove the state tax benefit for people who contribute to MD ABLE accounts- it would be unfair to remove this when this benefit exists for College Savings Program accounts, which ABLE is modeled after. [If you are a constituent, point that out to the staffer who answers the call. If not, then say you are contacting him because he chairs the committee].
(2) CALL SEN. SERAFINI – 410-841-3903
Thank you for serving on the MD ABLE Task Force. I strongly support SB 355, establishing the MD ABLE program. I strongly oppose your amendment to remove the state tax benefit for people who contribute to a MD ABLE account- it's unfair and will hurt people with disabilities and their families.
CALL HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS TOO – ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT. Contact info is here:
Contact information: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmmain.aspx?pid=legisrpage&tab=subject6
Please support HB 431, establishing the MD ABLE program without changes - other than possibly requiring a report on the program. Please don't alter any provision that would reduce access to ABLE accounts or remove or lower the tax benefit for contributors. The bill was designed to mirror the College Savings Plan program and no changes should be made that would affect this. The programs should remain equitable.
Who: Public Health and Minority Health Disparities Subcommittee
Delegate Pena-Melnyk, chair – most important to call! 410-841-3502
PLEASE PASS ALONG THIS MESSAGE TO LISTSERVS, SOCIAL MEDIA, ETC. WE HAVE A NARROW WINDOW OF TIME TO PRESERVE THIS TAX DEDUCTION IN THE ABLE BILL.