HOGAN BUDGET PLAN INCLUDES TAX CUTS, LARGEST CAPITAL SPENDING: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) unveiled a plan Wednesday to pour billions into construction projects statewide and eliminate all state income taxes for retirees by 2028, all while spending record amounts on state parks, education, police and more. For all the record-smashing initiatives, the governor left out $125 million that lawmakers had directed to high-poverty schools. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
- In the first year, the tax cut proposal would eliminate income taxes on 70,000 low-income seniors at a cost of $188 million to the state. But as it expands to more retirees, the price tag is expected to rise, setting the state up to lose significant dollars that it otherwise would collect in income taxes from retirees. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Sun.
- The budget is built on an unprecedented level of fund balances and revenue growth. And, in addition to a $2.4 billion appropriation to the state’s rainy day fund, it would leave the state with a $1.3 billion structural surplus going forward. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
- At $6.8 billion, the capital budget is the state’s largest ever and includes $3.3 billion for transportation projects, including roads and mass transit. The Associated Press.
STATE INDIVIDUAL TAX FILING DEADLINE EXTENDED INTO JULY: The 2022 Maryland income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to assist people facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comptroller Peter Franchot on Wednesday pushed the deadline from April 18 to July 15. This is the third straight year it has been extended. Greg Larry/The Cumberland Times News.
SENATE REPUBLICANS FAIL IN ATTEMPT TO AMEND REDISTRICTING PLAN: Republicans in the state Senate unsuccessfully attempted to bring back the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission’s state legislative redistricting proposal via an amendment Wednesday. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
HOGAN BLAMES WHITE HOUSE PLAN FOR DELAY IN STATE COVID TESTS: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the White House plan to distribute 500 million COVID-19 testing kits has held up Maryland’s own efforts to get kits to its residents. Speaking to reporters during a Wednesday news conference, Hogan could not say how many tests destined for Maryland were put on hold. But he said he mentioned his concern to White House officials “pretty forcefully” during a call with governors the day before. Jeff Barker and Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Sun.
CLIMATE CHANGE BILLS’ FOCUS IS ELECTRIFICATION: As the Maryland General Assembly settles into its regular 90-day session, environmental leaders in both chambers are expected to reveal legislative proposals aimed at tackling climate change soon. The Senate draft could be ready as early as next week. The Senate plans to introduce one sweeping climate bill, while the House plans to split the legislation’s provisions into multiple bills. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.
LOOKING FOR COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS: Maryland Reporter is looking to publish more commentary and analysis on issues about state government and politics from all points of view – left, center and right. If you have an opinion or analysis piece you’d like to see published, contact Len@MarylandReporter.com. The commentary needs to be exclusive to Maryland Reporter and 500 to 800 words long.
CHALLENGERS EMERGE IN DISTRICT 14 RACES: Two northeastern Montgomery County residents who work in education — an MCPS middle school teacher and a professor at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park — are challenging incumbent state lawmakers in the House of Delegates and state Senate from District 14. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.
EDWARDS TARGETS HER FORMER CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: Donna F. Edwards, the former five-term Maryland congresswoman, has launched a bid for her former seat in the 4th Congressional District, reshaping a race that already includes several former and current Prince George’s County public officials. Meagan Flynn/The Washington Post.
SCHULZ HAS $1.52M IN GOV CAMPAIGN COFFERS: Kelly M. Schulz has raised $1.52 million in her bid to fill the seat being vacated by her former boss, Gov. Larry Hogan (R). While it’s a significant haul for a first-time Republican candidate in a blue state, her fundraising still lags behind several Democratic candidates vying for the seat. Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
STUDY: OUTLAWED REDLINING STILL CAUSING HARM: The segregationist housing policies enacted nearly 100 years ago in Baltimore continue to harm the residents who live in the affected areas, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Sun.
CLEAN ENERGY RECEPTION: Hear from guest speakers about the climate and energy priorities for policy and regulation under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly during the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Legislative Reception on Feb 17, 2022. Featured panels will discuss Energy & the Built Environment: Strategies Aimed at Addressing Climate Change and Innovation & Regulation: Shooting Toward Energy Targets in Maryland. Early Bird discounted tickets are on sale to attend this hybrid format event in-person or online. Prices increase to the standard registration rate on Friday, Jan 21.
HOWARD CANDIDATES PUSH FOR RELEASE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS: Howard County Council members were bombarded with pleas on Tuesday night to pass emergency legislation allowing for the disbursement of funds from the Citizens’ Election Fund to candidates in contested county races. Katie V. Jones/Baltimore Sun Media.
OPINION: HOWARD MAKES A MESS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW: The editorial board for the Sun opines on the major snafu to its campaign financing law that fails to apply to primary races, just the race that many candidates need it the most. “Howard County voters deserve is a working campaign finance law. And it should have applied to primaries from the start — just as other jurisdictions have done. Whatever the cost, it should not be a sticking point considering how much greater the expense when government is dominated by special interests, which, on the county level, often means developers.”
ARUNDEL JUDGE WON’T BLOCK COUNTY MASK MANDATE: An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge declined Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the countywide mask mandate issued Jan. 7 by the county health officer. This ruling keeps in place the requirement that face coverings be worn in indoor county public areas and crowded outdoor public settings through Jan. 31. Donovan Conaway/The Capital Gazette.
MOSBY CHALLENGER HAS $226,000 ON HAND: Ivan Bates, one of two Democrats challenging Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for her seat, has nearly $226,000 on hand heading into election year, $40,000 more than he had ahead of his previous bid for the office. Emily Opilo and Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.
PUGH EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED EARLY: Experts are predicting that former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s time behind bars will soon be coming to an end. Pugh, who’s 71, has served more than half of her three-year sentence on federal fraud charges at a prison in Aliceville, Ala., and prison records show she’s slated to be released in January 2023. However, as covid cases grow, the federal CARES Act now allows institutions to release certain inmates based on their age, their health, and the length of their remaining sentence. Jeff Abell/WBFF-TV.