The Maryland Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the state’s $44.5 billion budget for fiscal 2019, just 2.2% higher than this year’s spending plan. The senators heaped bipartisan praise on budget committee chairman Ed Kasemeyer, who is retiring from the Senate this year and got three standing ovations from his colleagues over the past three days as he presented the budget.
This is the last legislative session for 10 senators and 29 delegates as they leave their seats to others, whether by retiring or running for other offices. (We missed two delegates in the first posting, and fixed a couple of incorrect party designations.) Primary and general elections may unseat other lawmakers, but here is the list of the lawmakers that will produce at least a 20% turnover in both chambers.
The Maryland Senate Monday night gave final approval to a $20,000 pay raise for 312 Maryland judges over the next four years, $15,000 less than was recommended by the Judicial Compensation Commission in January. The pay raise in House Joint Resolution 3 as passed by the Senate and House also will boost the pensions for 417 retired judges and their surviving beneficiaries by as much as $13,340 a year since those payments are based on the salaries of current judges.
A new study for a conservative think-tank criticizes the large unfunded retiree benefits of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, saying it threatens to “crowd out” increased spending on education.
The Shore Power Project, launched several years ago at Washington College, has helped local governments on Maryland’s Eastern Shore find ways to reduce energy costs while also shrinking their carbon footprint. For students and staff at the private liberal arts college in Chestertown, the project offered a chance to help Shore communities address climate change by dealing with the shifting energy landscape.
Perhaps 9% of Marylanders would pay $200 million more in state taxes next year under plans a Senate committee approved Tuesday to give most taxpayers relief from the consequences of recent federal tax cuts. But some corporations will likely pay as much as $75-100 million more in state taxes since there are no plans at the State House to try to grant them similar relief after the Trump cuts gave them big breaks on federal taxes.
As many a state senator faces a tough primary race or general election, four senators are getting free rides back to the State House with no candidates filed against them in either the primary or the general election by last Tuesday’s filing deadline. The Republican Party named challengers to two Democrats who initially had no opponents after the filing deadline.
The crowded and competitive race for the Democratic nomination to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan was on full display Tuesday night in Columbia as five candidates for governor and four for lieutenant governor wooed and wowed an overflow crowd of about 160. “Any one of them would be better than the person we have now” as governor, said Rushern Baker, the Prince George’s County executive who has a slight edge in favorability over the others in recent polling.
MarylandReporter.com honored over 100 News Match donors and their guests at a happy hour Wednesday night with Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot as guest bartenders. Treasurer Nancy Kopp was also scheduled behind the “Bar of Public Works” at Harry Browne’s on State Circle in Annapolis, but sent her regrets due to illness. MarylandReporter.com, the 8-year-old nonprofit news website on state government and politics, on Thursday received $28,000 grant that matched contributions of up to $1,000 from individuals between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 last year. T
We were so impressed with this analysis of the 30-year career and current political standing of Comptroller Peter Franchot by Adam Pangnucco in the Seventh State blog published Thursday that we asked for permission to publish it in full, unedited except for style. As one confidant of the comptroller said: “He nailed it.” Franchot has a life-time of taking on the establishment and winning