The Testimonies of the Fair Share Maryland Hearing

March 6, 2024

Maryland Nonprofits recently attended the Senate Committee hearing for the Fair Share Maryland Plan. Legislators and nonprofit advocates from different facets of the sector came out to voice their needs, and how they can be met by the wealthiest 1% paying their fair share.

The Fair Share Maryland Plan creates a more equitable tax code where we close corporate tax loopholes, ask the wealthiest Marylanders to pay their fair share, and put more money into the pockets of Marylanders in need, including increasing the child tax credit. By working together, nonprofits in Maryland are advancing and protecting the public interest of the people and communities we serve.

District 11 Senator Shelly Hettleman set the tone by reminding the committee that the state’s budget reflects Maryland’s value and that legislators fund programs residents need. She then goes on to say, “We have a tax system that’s not fair. It’s not fair when low-income folks are paying a higher percentage of their income on taxes than wealthier folks when the richest 1% aren’t paying their fair share and corporations aren’t paying their fair share.”

Senator Hettleman shared that SB 766 would be $1.6 Billion each year that could be used to fund Maryland’s schools, transportation, and so much more. Not only would this revenue give the state some breathing room to make improvements, but Hettleman ended her testimony with a bigger impact of the bill. “It advances racial justice by addressing aspects of our tax system that disproportionately benefit wealthy white households at the expense of Marylanders of color.”

Next up was Senior Fellow at the Nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Don Griswald, who introduced himself as, “The voice of truth in the room.” Griswald, who used to be on the Budget and Taxation Committee himself had no problem enlightening the audience of the intentions of the committee.

“You should know that my old buddies aim to keep Maryland a victim of their abusive tax dodging, so you should be skeptical of their arguments.” He says before concluding with a mic-dropping moment,
”I’m speaking truth to your power, your responsibility is to speak tax to theirs.”

Each advocate who testified made it clear that this bill is for the Maryland people. Christopher Meyer of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy laid on the statistics of impact for the committee,” 29% of those getting a tax cut have an annual home income of under $34,000. 47% of beneficiaries are Black, 28% are White, 19% are Latinx and 6% are Multiracial.” This represents a stark difference from our current tax system that only benefits wealthy White Marylanders.

Another memorable speaker at the hearing was Tonaeya Moore, who is the Director of Policy for the CASH Campaign of Maryland. If you didn’t know, the CASH in CASH Campaign stands for Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope! Tonaeya brought an interesting very real perspective to why SB 766 is so vital to Maryland families,” This bill is a way to raise revenue, without placing the burden on low to middle-income families and small businesses. This is the ugly truth about our current tax system. The top 1% of households in Maryland pay only 9% of their household income on state and local taxes, which is a smaller share than any other income group. We are essentially telling our working class,” You fund the state and let the wealthy keep their money.

After a couple of other amazing nonprofit changemakers made their testimony, it was time for the President and CEO of Maryland Nonprofits, Heather Iliff to speak her piece. Heather started by making it clear that Maryland Nonprofits represents the interests of the over 40,000 nonprofit organizations in our state. She told some hard truths about how nonprofits struggle to keep the communities they serve afloat while working with little to nothing.

“Funders expect nonprofits to be able to offer a meal for $5-8 per person, and that’s just not possible anymore.”

Maryland’s nonprofits keep our state thriving with museums, theatres, parks, transportation and so much more! But if only the wealthiest 1% of Marylanders are thriving, can we truly say that is fair? Heather concluded her testimony by reminding the committee,” We cannot make these investments in getting Maryland’s economy growing again, with self-imposed fiscal austerity.”

The hearing has passed but it’s not too late to take action! Learn more about this initiative, and do your part in demanding the wealthy 1% of Maryland pay their #FairShare.




Born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Imany started her journey in Baltimore at Morgan State University where she earned a B.S. in Strategic Communications. Imany has worked for the Baltimore Curriculum Project as a Social Media and Marketing Specialist and has done some freelance social media work for small businesses. She enjoys traveling and writing and has had work published in the Baltimore Times.