Housing and youth bills aimed at revitalizing Baltimore, delegate says

Revitalize Baltimore by starting with housing and youth, says Del. Keith E. Haynes, D-Baltimore City. Haynes introduced five bills in this spirit to the Ways and Means Committee Wednesday. The first three focus on providing more affordable housing options and reducing the city's vacant properties. The other two focus on giving employers incentives to hire local teenagers and granting tax credits toward community college tuition—not just in Baltimore but in low-income communities across the state.

Del. Shane Pendergrass, at podium, talks to reporters. Capital News Service photo by Lexie Schapitl

End of life legislation gets revived

Compassion and Choices held a news conference to support upcoming legislation in the Maryland House and Senate that would authorize doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients. Supporters of the legislation say that choice is the heart of the issue, not death. The bill failed last year, and sponsors have made changes to improve its chances this year.

Sen, Catherine Pugh at podium for Working Families press conference will re-introduce legislation for earned sick leave. MarylandReporter.com photo

Renewed push for paid sick leave gets pushback from new poll for business groups

Legislators are bringing back a proposed requirement for paid sick leave. Employers are already pushing back against the proposal, commissioning a poll that shows Marylanders support the concept of paid sick leave, but withdraw their support when told of its negative consequences. Advocates for paid sick leave derided the poll, saying it was a "push poll," pushing people toward opposition with consequences that don't exist. They cited a study of Seattle employers after that city passed a requirement for paid sick leave that found very few consequences.

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.

Maryland House overrides three of Gov. Hogan’s vetoes

The House voted Wednesday to override three of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes, including legislation that would give voting rights to ex-felons. A three-fifths majority is needed in the House for an override, and 85 votes -- just enough -- were cast to override the voting rights veto, with 56 opposed, including all 50 Republican delegates.

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo by Scott Beale of ScottBeale.org and Laughing Squid with Flickr Creative Commons License

Rascovar on Hogan’s budget dilemma

Tumbling oil prices, a bear market for stock and 401(k) investors and a sharp economic pullback in China and other developing countries could wreak havoc in Maryland as Gov. Larry Hogan prepares to release his budget for the coming fiscal year. Even before lawmakers get a chance to analyze what’s in Hogan’s conservative spending plan, the state’s revenue assumptions for the next 18 months could be out of date.

Economist advises senators: Spend on infrastructure, education; lower income tax, broaden sales tax

In what has turned into an annual performance to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, the chief economist with Moody’s Analytics said that while Maryland’s economy is performing close to the national average, it needed to do more to grow its performance. Repeating recommendation from a September Moody’s Analytics Report, economist Mark Zandi said Maryland should focus on reducing key taxes and costs, investing in infrastructure, and reducing the perception of business unfriendliness. The economist said Maryland needs to build or maintain businesses that rely on demand from the private sector for growth.