State Roundup: MoCo’s budget holds property tax rate steady; upgrade plan for Pimlico races to Annapolis; Catherine Pugh’s supervised release ends early

State Roundup: MoCo’s budget holds property tax rate steady; upgrade plan for Pimlico races to Annapolis; Catherine Pugh’s supervised release ends early

Daffodils along a path in Columbia mark early signs of spring. photo

PROPOSED MOCO $7B BUDGET DOES NOT RAISE PROPERTY TAX RATE: Montgomery County property tax rates would hold steady while the county puts more money into schools, affordable housing and other priorities under a spending plan unveiled by County Executive Marc Elrich (D) on Thursday. Higher tax bills from rising property values are projected to help support the roughly $400 million in increased spending baked into Elrich’s plan for the budget year that begins July 1 — a $7.1 billion framework that he said marked a return to normalcy after navigating the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Thompson/The Washington Post

  • Elrich’s proposal represents a 4.9% increase from the current fiscal year’s budget. The proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 includes $3.3 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools, funding 98% of the county school board’s request. The total school spending represents a $107 million increase over spending in the current fiscal year but includes about a $60 million cut in the school board’s funding request, according to board documents. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360

UPGRADE PLAN FOR PIMLICO RACES TO ANNAPOLIS: With just days until crossover day in the state legislature, the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority (MTROA) has requested a bill for lawmakers that would codify its Pimlico Plus plan, which was unveiled in January. The bill would make the State of Maryland (through MTROA) in charge of the horse racing industry in the state, move all horse racing to a revamped Pimlico and create a new training facility at another location. Amanda Engel/WMAR (ABC)

FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR’S SUPERVISED RELEASE ENDS EARLY: Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been discharged early from supervised release. A federal judge who found Pugh had complied with all the rules and regulations recommended the end to her supervision. Pugh had been under supervision since April 1, 2022. after being released early from her three-year prison sentence for fraud and tax evasion related to her “Healthy Holly” book scandal. Hannah Hoffman/WBAL-TV

BILL WOULD GET TOUGH WITH PORCH PIRATES: Maryland lawmakers are looking to crack down on porch pirates throughout the state. Del. Karen Toles (D-Prince George’s County), introduced the Porch Piracy Act of 2024. The bill seeks to mirror federal law by making package theft a felony with imprisonment of up to five years. Maxine Streicher/WBFF (Fox)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM ADVOCATES URGE MOORE TO VETO BILLS: Advocates for criminal justice reform are urging Maryland lawmakers to make drastic changes to the recently passed juvenile justice reform measure. Respective committees from each chamber must now review some of the differences in House Bill 814 and Senate Bill 744. If lawmakers pass the legislation with what advocates call “regressive provisions,” then Gov. Wes Moore (D) should veto the bills when they come to his desk, the advocates said Thursday. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

HOW MANY HOUSING BILLS WILL PASS?: As the General Assembly scrambles to process bills in the waning days of Maryland’s 90-day session, renters and housing advocates are pushing for passage of measures that would ease the burden of housing insecurity across the state. Gov. Wes Moore has offered his own legislative package to address Maryland’s housing shortage, estimated at 96,000 units statewide. But addressing the housing shortage is complicated. Danielle J. Brown/Maryland Matters

MEET SOME OF THE WOMEN BEHIND MD.’S POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS: Baltimore’s most powerful political offices are exclusively held by men, but women fueled the campaigns that got them there. A handful of women are the most sought-after — and effective — campaign fundraisers for races in Baltimore and across Maryland. Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner

JOHN WATERS BASHES PLANS FOR HARBORPLACE: Add filmmaker John Waters to the list of Baltimoreans who aren’t enthusiastic about the redevelopment plans for Harborplace. Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday signed into law a package of City Council bills to modify existing controls on the land so the project can move ahead. Ed Gunts/Baltimore Fishbowl

OPINION: ‘SLEAZE FEST’ IN HARFORD CO. COULD TURN OFF VOTERS: Something’s wrong in Harford County politics and the wahoos involved need to take notice. Wiretapping? Ethical missteps? Start choosing better words and behaving better or the voters will either demand soap in the mouth or elect a new slate of politicians at the next election. Patrick Wallis/The Aegis

SENATE FORUM AT GOUCHER: Maryland Matters will be co-sponsoring a forum for leading U.S. Senate candidates on the evening of Tuesday, April 2 at Goucher College in Towson. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is the primary sponsor of the event, and other nonprofits are expected to sign on. The event will be live-streamed and also is open to all for in-person attendance. Staff/Maryland Matters

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