ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Senate plans to add about $520 million to Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal to help the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading Democrats who control the chamber announced Wednesday.

Democrats are keeping the Republican governor’s proposals in his $1 billion plan over several years. The Senate’s proposed additions would come this year, focusing largely on education, business, health, housing aid transportation and unemployment assistance.

It would bring the total amount of the proposal to almost $1.3 billion in the current fiscal year.

Join BJL on WhatsApp Status: Click here to Join BJL status for engagements, births, deals, levayos, events & more

Join BJL on WhatsApp Groups: Click here to Join an official BJL WhatsApp group for breaking news as it happens

“This is the immediate relief that Marylanders need,” Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, said. “We agree with the governor with his relief act that he’s put forward, and these additions are the targeted supports that we know are going to be most important to help Marylanders and small businesses make it through this crisis, so that 2021 can truly be the year of rebuilding and recovery.”

Torrey Snow talked to Keiffer Mitchell, Gov. Larry Hogan's chief legislative officer, about the proposal:

Hogan’s plan includes direct stimulus payments to low-to-moderate income residents, with benefits of up to $750 for families and $450 for individuals. It repeals all state and local income taxes on unemployment benefits. The governor’s plan also includes sales tax credits of up to $3,000 a month for four months for small businesses. The governor’s proposal is on top of roughly $700 million the state already has allocated in aid relating to the pandemic.

“Much of their proposal consists of things we’ve already done or are doing through $700 million in economic assistance programs, but we appreciate that they agree on the urgent need for additional relief for Marylanders, and look forward to working with them,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said.

The Senate is moving swiftly to pass the legislation, which the governor and leaders in the General Assembly have made a priority of the legislative session, which convened two weeks ago. The House would also have to approve the proposal. Read more at WBAL