Sen. Nathaniel McFadden

Bipartisanship sneaks into Senate

There has been much talk of bipartisanship at the State House this legislative session, but not a lot of evidence of it, until Thursday morning in the Senate. "I want to thank the governor," said Senate President Pro-tem Nathaniel McFadden, the chair of the all-Democrat Baltimore City delegation. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday morning provided an additional $12.7 million in his third supplemental budget for Baltimore City schools, money the school district had lost due to declining enrollment.

Md. revenue estimates down slightly for coming year

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates on Wednesday decided to write down state revenue estimates for fiscal 2016 and 2017 by approximately $51 million from estimates made last December. State Comptroller Peter Franchot said the new estimates reflected weak sales throughout Maryland during the recent holiday season. Economic growth has continued to be stagnant in the last few months.

At news conference, Hogan points to structural deficit figure before new mandates were introduced this session.

Hogan budget chief spars with Democrats over spending mandates

Budget Secretary David Brinkley sparred with Democratic legislators Tuesday over the Hogan administration’s proposal to gain relief from legislative spending mandates that exceed projected revenues. Prior to Brinkley’s testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, he joined Gov. Larry Hogan at a press conference in which the governor defended the initiative.

Senators begin trimming Hogan budget

Senators on the budget committee on Tuesday began doing the only things they can do with Gov. Larry Hogan's $42.3 billion budget -- cutting it around the edges and fencing off money for special purposes. That included a $58 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement to health care providers -- based on lower enrollment estimates -- and cutting part of Hogan's modest legislative agenda, $3 million for Early Graduation Scholarships for students who complete high school in three years or less.

Open sign

Keeping the doors open for behavioral health will help the vulnerable

Years of stagnant or reduced behavioral health budgets have jeopardized critical access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Without action, we fear that community health providers may close up shop, and Marylanders who urgently need behavioral health care will instead find closed doors or dead ends. Commentary by Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Antonio Hayes.

Senate Budget & Tax Committee discusses new ways to assess property taxes, PG hospital funding

Instead of conducting a physical property inspection, the state would use satellite imagery and other technologies to assess home values, under a bill presented to the Maryland Senate’s Budget and Tax committee on Wednesday. Senate President Mike Miller also testified in favor of a bill that would allocate state and county funding for a new local hospital in Prince George’s County.

Chart from Hogan press conference on fiscal 2017 budget

Rascovar on Hogan’s conflicted budget

At first glance there is lots to like about Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr.’s new budget. It’s largely a status quo blueprint that keeping spending under expected revenue growth without harming ongoing programs. There’s a bit of sunshine for just about every group – liberals, conservatives, environmentalists, law-and-order types, urban dwellers, rural residents and suburbanites.

Brinkley budget briefing cropped

Hogan’s $42 billion budget not causing much indigestion — yet

Legislators and nonprofit groups are still digesting the $42.3 billion budget Gov. Larry Hogan submitted Wednesday. But there were few signs of indigestion over a proposal that increases spending by $2 billion (5%), while setting aside a record $1.5 billion in reserves and surplus. "We don't know until we get into all the details" is the way House Speaker Michael Busch summed it up after breakfast with the governor and fiscal leaders. House Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh had lots of unanswered questions, as well.

Gov. Larry Hogan explains his budget proposal at a Jan. 7 press conference. Left is Lt. Gov Boyd Rutherford, on the right is Budget Secretary David Brinkley and fiscal advisor Bob Neall.

Hogan to release budget — but he won’t be there

Gov. Larry Hogan will submit his fiscal 2017 budget to the legislature Wednesday, but he won't be briefing reporters about it. Skipping a budget routine that goes back a dozen years or more, Hogan will not unveil his overall budget and the thick five-volume set of budget books that go with it in the governor's formal reception room. That duty will be handled by Budget Secretary David Brinkley in his offices two blocks from the State House.