State support for public schools will exceed $7 billion for the first time in a budget plan given preliminary approval Wednesday by the Maryland House of Delegates. The $46.7 billion state budget bill for fiscal 2020 also includes a 3% general salary increase for state workers (5% for law enforcement officers) effective July 1.
Statues of Thurgood Marshall and three companions are being sent away from Lawyers Mall in Annapolis as part of a renovation project that will close the mall in 2019.
Gov. Larry Hogan won this legislative session by not losing too much and not giving Democrats ammunition against his reelection campaign. Hogan also won with success on issues where he cooperated more than usual with Democrats, and by choosing to fight them, and lose, only on issues where he held the high ground.
A few more Republican delegates than usual voted against the House version of Gov. Hogan’s $44.5 billion budget Thursday. The final vote was 126-11. The GOP members repeatedly tried to take $1 million away from Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh and his lawsuits against the Trump administration, and they also attempted to provide more income tax relief than Democrats were willing to offer from the windfall the state will reap from the federal tax cuts.
Bill would give public employee unions names of new hires; also, ban on conversion therapy; same-day voter registration
Controversial legislation spearheaded by Montgomery County lawmakers met resistance Thursday on the Senate floor as Republican lawmakers delayed votes by requesting more time to research the bills — fairly routine motions by the outnumbered minority that gives them some leverage over legislation they oppose.
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.
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.
In public debates about the budgetary soundness of state government finances, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing and cloudy media reporting. The legendary former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance in 2013 with the aim of enhancing government responsiveness by improving how governments work. In its report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality? the Volcker Alliance paints a mixed picture for Maryland, and represents an opportunity for the state to make real improvements in areas considered as weaknesses.
President Trump will be releasing his first budget this week for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Early indicators point to a fiscal blueprint that slashes domestic programs especially for the poor and the environment but is exceedingly generous to the military. How do you rate that package, good or bad?
Gov. Larry Hogan’s strategy on President Trump’s budget apparently worked: Shut up and let the Maryland’s members of Congress do their job. Democratic officials and party leaders had demanded the Republican governor stand up to Trump and resist plans to cut funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and funding for the Affordable Care Act. Hogan said it was up to Congress to act on the president’s budget, and a spokesman said the governor would act if and when the cuts actually happened.
Another Maryland General Assembly session has come and gone with Gov. Larry Hogan proclaiming victory and legislative leaders breathing a positive sigh of relief. There were no big wins for Hogan but no shocking defeats, either. His agenda may sell well with die-hard Hogan backers but it was a non-starter with Democratic lawmakers.