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State legislative leaders push tuition assistance

Rachel Baye

 The Democratic General Assembly leaders on Monday announced plans to help residents pay for college and save for retirement, and to lessen the pay gap between men and women. The lawmakers said their efforts are aimed at helping Maryland’s middle class. 

A graduate from a four-year college in Maryland can owe upwards of $30,000 in student loans, according to Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, a Democrat from Baltimore and Howard Counties. He said a bill he is co-sponsoring would alleviate some of that burden for roughly 5,000 students with more than $25,000 in debt.

House Speaker Michael Busch said this legislation along with the rest of the Democratic leadership's legislative package will be more helpful to Maryland’s middle class than the tax cuts Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed. 

"I don't think corporate tax cuts are targeted to the middle class," he said. "We pride ourselves on a well-educated workforce, and unless you make it affordable and accessible for working, middle-class families, they won't have that opportunity for that.”

Legislative leaders said they also plan to address the pay gap between men and women by, among other things, making it easier for employees to find out how their pay compares to others where they work, and to create incentives for businesses to help workers save for retirement.