Committee: Senate Budget & Taxation Committee
The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in SUPPORT of Senate Bill 870. The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, including the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.
Senate Bill 870 would expand the existing state tax credit for child and dependent care by implementing a gradual credit percentage increase, depending on income level. The total number of Maryland taxpayers who will qualify for this credit will increase eligibility from 22,700 to 114,200.
The Church views the family unit as the cornerstone of society and measures should be taken to strengthen and support it. Pope Francis has reasoned that benefits “which society offers its citizens are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine ‘social debt’ with respect to the institution of the family, which is foundational and which contributes to the common good.” (Homily for the Holy Mass for Families, Guayaquil, Equador, 6/15/15) Similarly, the expansion of the child and dependent care credit is a foundational, sound investment in Maryland families.
Additionally, the credit and associated subtraction modification have always been viewed as a means to support working parents. The ever-rising costs of child and other dependent care often make it very difficult for caregivers to earn gainfully in caring for their families. Pope Francis has cautioned that there is “no worse material poverty… than the poverty which prevents people from earning their bread and deprives them of the dignity of work.” (Address to the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, Vatican City, 5/25/13) In that vein, the Conference backs SB 870 in support of the dignity of work and in empowering parents and caregivers in earning a living.
The Conference supports this bill as a means toward financially stabilizing and strengthening families. The child and dependent care credit has been a proven means of such assistance and Senate Bill 870 would expand the credit and associated subtraction modification to thousands more lower-to-middle income Maryland families. Therefore, the Conference encourages a favorable report for Senate Bill 870.