State Roundup: Maryland’s economic problems predate pandemic, Comptroller’s report says; in-state migration finds more move to Shore, southern and western parts

State Roundup: Maryland’s economic problems predate pandemic, Comptroller’s report says; in-state migration finds more move to Shore, southern and western parts

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STATE ECONOMIC WOES PREDATE PANDEMIC, COMPTROLLER’s REPORT SAYS: Maryland’s economic woes predate the pandemic and “serve as flashing yellow lights for the state’s fiscal health,” according to a first-of-its-kind economic analysis released Wednesday by Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman’s office. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

  • The report says that the state’s economic growth effectively stalled in 2017 and has been stagnant ever since, despite the fact that Maryland tops the nation in several key economic categories, including having the highest median household income of about $108,200 and the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 1.8%. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.

IN-STATE MIGRATION SHOWS MOVES TO E. SHORE, WESTERN & S. MARYLAND: A “first ever” State of the Economy report released Wednesday by Maryland’s top tax collector showed population movement to the Eastern Shore, Southern and Western Maryland regions, while also indicating lack of affordable housing statewide. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.

MORE LGBTQ+ PEOPLE MOVING INTO MARYLAND: More LGBTQ+ people have since flocked to the Baltimore area after Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order last summer protecting gender-affirming health care in the state. The number spiked to around 7,000 in the first month. One Midwest couple – the Chiaramontes — did so after filming “We Live Here: The Midwest,” a Hulu documentary about the perseverance of LGBTQ+ families that aired Dec. 6. Abigail Gruskin/The Baltimore Sun.

COMMENTARY: BALTIMORE OVER-BURDENED BY TRANSIT CUTS: In December 2023, the Maryland Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Secretary Paul Wiedefeld, announced proposed budget cuts totaling $3.3 billion, as outlined in its Maryland Consolidated Transportation Program Overview for fiscal years 2024 through 2029. Alarming and unbalanced, these cuts disproportionately affect Baltimore. The draft proposal submitted by MDOT sets regions against each other, burdening Baltimore with the lion’s share of the fiscal challenges. Sen. Cory McCray/The Baltimore Banner.

YOUTH JAIL OFFICIAL REMOVED AFTER IMPROPER RELEASES: The Department of Juvenile Services quietly removed the person overseeing whether kids arrested in Baltimore are detained after Maryland’s top lawmakers questioned why children accused of violent crime were being released hours after their arrest. Lee O. Sanderlin and Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.

ON VERGE OF NEW SESSION, LAWMAKERS BURDENED BY BUDGET DEFICIT: Maryland delegates and senators will be heading to Annapolis next week, where for the preceding 90 days the 2024 General Assembly session will occur. This will mark the second session for Gov. Wes Moore (D) and, unlike last year, lawmakers are burdened by a budget deficit. Marty Madden and Michael Reid/Southern Maryland News.

MOORE HIRES LABOR VETERAN AS CONTRACT RATIFICATION NEARS: Gov. Wes Moore’s administration announced Wednesday the hiring of a D.C. labor council president experienced in public employee contract negotiations as the year-end talks with the state’s largest workers’ union near contract ratification. Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.

STATE HOUSE GETS BOMB THREAT: State and Maryland Capitol Police responded Wednesday morning to a bomb threat made against the historic State House in Annapolis. The threat comes on the same day that multiple other states received a threatening email claiming explosives were placed at state capitol buildings. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

MD HEALTH DEPT URGES PREVENTION AS RESPIRATORY ILLNESS RISE: As people return home from holiday travel and spending time with loved ones over the past couple weeks, the Maryland Department of Health is urging clinicians to strengthen protective measures to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses. The rate of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and other viruses increased during the last week of 2023, and the Department of Health is urging clinicians to implement “broad facility-wide” prevention measures such as masking and vaccination efforts to bring the hospitalization rate back down. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

NEW FAFSA ‘SOFT LAUNCH’ FRUSTRATES MANY: Despite the long-awaited new FAFSA form launching at midnight on Saturday, the website kicked one Maryland mom out as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s “soft launch” of the 2024-25 application that is only accessible for short periods. The 2024-25 form is the FAFSA’s first major overhaul in 40 years. It’s expected to make applying easier by giving the education department direct access to tax information from the IRS instead of having to manually enter that information, which might not exactly match tax documents and result in errors that can hold up the process. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.

LAND USE POLICY DISPUTE SCUTTLES ARUNDEL REDEVELOPMENT BILL: A bill designed to make the redevelopment process easier in Anne Arundel County failed Tuesday night amid a growing divide among County Council members on land use policy. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

BA CO PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEE STOLE TRUCKS, SAYS IG REPORT: A Baltimore County Department of Public Works employee allegedly stole two government pickup trucks and used a dump truck for personal reasons from December 2021 to July 2023, according to a report from the county inspector general’s office. Tony Roberts/The Baltimore Sun.

UPGRADES TO EASTON AIRPORT BEGIN: Work has begun on what will be a years-long modernization and improvement project at the Easton Airport. Last week, crews began constructing a security and containment fence, designating areas that will soon see the project’s impacts. Staff/The Easton Star Democrat.

CECIL FARMER LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR COUNTY EXEC: Former Cecil County business owner and farmer Bill Kilby has launched his campaign for county executive, promising to preserve the county’s land, water, youth and teachers. Kilby registered to run on the Democratic ticket and called himself a “true conservative.” “I consider land, water, the youth and teachers of Cecil County as resources we should conserve which is why I am running as a true conservative Democrat,” said Kilby. Matt Hubbard/The Cecil Whig.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

cynthiaprairie@gmail.com
https://www.chestertelegraph.org/

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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