Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland (PFFMD) leaders achieved two longstanding legislative priorities on behalf of its membership during the state legislative session, passing bills to modify the pension income tax subtraction and winning collective bargaining rights for Martin State Airport Local 5044 and Charles County Paramedics Local 4658.
For more than a decade, the PFFMD has lobbied state lawmakers on the need to provide economic relief to retired fire fighters and law enforcement officers. This year, with added support from Governor Larry Hogan, all that hard work came together and the Hometown Heroes Act passed.
Effective for retirees with the 2017 tax year, the first $15,000 pension income for fire fighters and law enforcement will be exempt from taxes.
“Our retirees worked hard and served their communities well,” says PFFMD President Mike Rund. “Their pensions should not be taxed.”
The highest income tax percentage in Maryland is 6 percent. So, for example, fire fighters who receive a $60,000 pension would receive an additional $900 annually, thanks to this partial pension income tax subtraction modification.
The PFFMD was also able to pass collective bargaining for two jurisdictions in the state. State law allows each of Maryland’s 25 jurisdictions to submit legislation to enact collective bargaining.
“When I was first elected in August 2016, I made it a priority to establish collective bargaining in places where it does not exist,” says 4th District Vice President Andrew Pantelis. “By building political and community leader relationships, we gained a lot of support from the Martin State Airport Authority and the Charles County governments.”
With the passage of SB 515 for Martin State Airport Local 5044 and SB 909 for Charles County Paramedics Local 4658, the two locals can now begin bargaining for their first contracts.