STATE SEES $2 BILLION REVENUE SURPLUS: Thanks to an increase in revenue from Maryland’s state income taxes and the ongoing impact of federal stimulus aid, the state finished the 2022 fiscal year with a $2 billion revenue surplus. Of that total, $370 million will be transferred to a Fiscal Responsibility Fund used for public school, community college and higher education construction. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Inflation and higher-than-expected incomes, particularly among the wealthy, caused the windfall, state economists said. Some state workers will get an automatic pay raise and at least half the money will automatically go to savings, leaving roughly $1.1 billion unspoken for headed into a year of economic uncertainty. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
- Contributing to the windfall were personal income tax revenues, which came in 15.7% higher than projected, a 19.6% increase in sales and use taxes, and a 16.3% increase in corporate income tax, after companies saw rebounding profit growths. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
- The state’s 2022 budget year, which ran from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, initially had just shy of $5.5 billion extra. But, anticipating a surplus, much of that money was spoken for by state lawmakers in the 2023 budget, bringing the surplus down to $1.99 billion. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
HARRIS NIXES DEBATE WITH MIZEUR: Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris abruptly switched gears on Wednesday, pulling out of an October debate with Democratic challenger Heather Mizeur over his insistence that the Libertarian Party candidate be included. Harris had earlier insisted to the Baltimore Sun that he wouldn’t “pull out if a third-party candidate can’t attend, but he will nonetheless insist on them being invited to debates.” Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
COX, MOORE VIRTUAL FORUM HIGHLIGHTS DIFFERING APPROACHES: Republican Dan Cox and Democrat Wes Moore, in a public forum Wednesday, both vowed to expand economic and educational opportunities for Maryland families, but differed in how they would approach policies around child care, mandatory paid family leave and spending a billion-dollar state surplus. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.
- Cox cast himself on Wednesday as a candidate with a “middle-temperament approach,” willing to work across the aisle to improve the lives of families and children. The descriptor from Cox, a conservative freshman in the House of Delegates, is in contrast to the record he’s built over the past several years in the General Assembly, where he often voted on the fringe of his own party and developed a portfolio largely focused on restricting abortion access. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.
- Before Cox began his remarks, he rejected the forum format and said he wants to debate Moore in person. “A debate is a fun thing and a good thing. Not appearing with me just continues this separate but equal approach that I disagree with,” he said. He also challenged Moore to accept an invitation to participate in a Sept. 27 gubernatorial forum at Morgan State University, a historically Black university in Baltimore. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
MOORE SPEAKS BEFORE ARUNDEL BLACK LEADERS: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore laid out his vision for Anne Arundel County and Maryland over the next four years Tuesday night at the Caucus of African American Leaders’ monthly meeting. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
BROWN’s TAXPAYER-FUNDED MAILER USE SOARED DURING PRIMARY: U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown spent $250,000 in taxpayer funds — more than all but one member of the House of Representatives — to send out mailers to constituents in the months before his successful primary election for Maryland attorney general. It was more than Brown had spent on such mailers in the previous three years. Justin Fenton/The Baltimore Banner.
STATE RAMPS UP COVID BOOSTER CAMPAIGN: After a relatively slow start to the rollout of the new COVID-19 booster, the Maryland Department of Health began a outreach program this week, aimed at increasing the booster vaccination rates in the state. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state’s already established ‘COVIDReady’ campaign will focus on encouraging residents to get the updated COVID booster and flu shot at the same time, to maximize protection against the upcoming flu season and the Omicron variant. Shannon Clark of CNS/Maryland Reporter.
JONES, FERGUSON PREVIEW UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE ISSUES: House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore) — offered a preview of the issues lawmakers are likely to focus on when the General Assembly convenes four months from now. Ferguson identified mental health, transportation and workforce development as likely priorities for the legislature. He also said the new wave of state leaders need to pay careful attention to the learning and social deficits created by the pandemic. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
VOTERS GUIDE FOR STATEWIDE OFFICES: MarylandReporter.com is publishing this comprehensive list of statewide candidates for Maryland governor, attorney general and comptroller updated for the general election. It includes links to the candidates’ websites, stories, endorsements and voters guides by other organizations, as well as coverage of the races in general. Regina Holmes/Maryland Reporter.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY VOTERS GUIDE: Here is the MarylandReporter.com voters guide for Montgomery County elections. Regina Holmes/Maryland Reporter.
CARDIN PROPOSES NATIONAL MEMORIAL TO FALLEN JOURNALISTS IN D.C.: Sen. Ben Cardin introduced a resolution Wednesday to locate the National Memorial to Fallen Journalists at a specific site in Washington, D.C. The memorial would be located between the Voice of America building and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, according to the joint resolution Cardin introduced with Republican Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
MOSBY TRIAL DELAYED AGAIN: The federal trial against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been delayed again, just a day before jury selection was set to begin in the case. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record.
- A new trial date could be set Thursday. The city’s two-term top prosecutor, who will leave office in early January after losing her reelection bid, is charged with four counts of perjury and making false statements. Prosecutors say she lied about a financial hardship in order to access retirement funds under a federal coronavirus relief plan, the CARES Act, and then lied on paperwork related to the purchase of two Florida properties. Justin Fenton/The Baltimore Banner.
FREDERICK SCHOOLS WORK ON SPECIAL ED MANAGEMENT: The Frederick County Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously to begin the search for an independent firm to audit its special education programs. The vote came at the recommendation of a Blue Ribbon Task Force that formed in the wake of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the misuse of seclusion and restraint in Frederick County Public Schools. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.
- Frederick County Public Schools has trained more than 250 employees in a behavior management model aimed at reducing physical restraints in its special education programs, officials said Wednesday. Educators to use soft pads to block a child who is behaving aggressively. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.