April 3, 2014
House and Senate negotiators working out their differences in the $38.7 billion state budget reached agreement Thursday evening, eliminating provisions on stormwater fees and “House of Cards” property. An alternative to the stormwater remediation fee proposed by Anne Arundel Sen. James DeGrange was ultimately eliminated from the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA). [...more]
April 2, 2014
A measure that would institute an alternative to the hotly debated stormwater management fee stalled during Wednesday’s budget conference committee negotiations. [...more]
Legislative life mimicked legislative fiction last week when Del. Bill Frick successfully introduced an unforeseen amendment to the budget that stipulates the state could seize the property of “House of Cards” if its producers abandon the state, as they have threatened.
But there’s a question if the use of this power is even legal. [...more]
April 1, 2014
House and Senate conferees working on the state budget tentatively approved an alternative to the contentious stormwater remediation fee dubbed the “rain tax” by opponents.
The surprise move offered by Sen. James Ed DeGrange of Anne Arundel County appears to be an end-run around environmentalists and the House Environmental Matters Committee, which has blocked any changes to the requirement that nine counties and Baltimore City impose a separate tax to clean up stormwater polluting the bay. [...more]
March 30, 2014
Support staff who work for mostly nonprofit agencies provide care for people with developmental disabilities. The state reimburses their agencies at $9.82 per hour. With proposals to raise the minimum wage above that, the workers and their agencies are concerned about high turnover and the value placed on the work they do. [...more]
March 27, 2014
The House of Delegates approved its version of Gov. Martin O'Malley's $38.7 billion budget Thursday by a vote of 100-38, but not before Republicans got in some licks about high taxes, Common Core and the lack of a vote on their own pay raises. [...more]
March 26, 2014
Republican legislators applied their usual persistence in trying to trim the Maryland budget Wednesday and were rewarded with their usual result: Every one of the dozen amendments they offered to reduce spending were defeated by overwhelming Democratic majorities. [...more]
March 25, 2014
Republican members of the Maryland House of Delegates are calling on the legislature to trim next year’s budget and avoid cutting payments to the state’s pension fund.
The House Minority Caucus presented its alternative budget plan Tuesday, which reduces spending growth to 1% from the fiscal year 2015’s budget proposed 4%. [...more]
The Prince George’s County Public School System overpaid employees millions of dollars because of lax controls on payrolls and “sick-leave banks,” according to one of many repeat findings by legislative auditors.
The audit also found that hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and expenses within the school system do not have proper oversight and safeguards. Among the findings: $200 million of equipment is not adequately protected against theft or loss by inventory tracking systems; regular physical inventory counts; and researching missing property. [...more]
March 20, 2014
Environmental and land conservation advocates, along with county officials across the state, are gearing up to fight a Senate Budget Committee proposal to limit Program Open Space funding to $100 million a year. The Maryland Association of Counties said the cap on open space funding would result in "devastating" cuts of as much as $263 million over the next five years. [...more]