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.
Newly sworn in Gov. Larry Hogan released about half the state budget Thursday, the $16.4 billion general fund budget — spending funded by sales, income, and corporate taxes and gambling.
The budget reduces $766 million in planned spending increases, with health care providers, state employees and aid to education taking the biggest hits.
Until last week, Del. Maggie McIntosh was an important member of the House of Delegates leadership.
Now, suddenly, she’s a Very Important Person.
The new chair of the House Appropriations Committee holds the second-most powerful post in the chamber. It even could put her in prime position to succeed House Speaker Mike Busch whenever the Annapolis lawmaker decides to give up his gavel.
House and Senate negotiators working out their differences in the $38.7 billion state budget reached agreement Thursday evening, eliminating provisions on stormwater fees and “House of Cards” property. An alternative to the stormwater remediation fee proposed by Anne Arundel Sen. James DeGrange was ultimately eliminated from the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA).
With the two longest serving presiding officers in Maryland history, the state Senate and House of Delegates, and a majority of their committees, are headed up by people in their 60s and 70s.
Del. Mike Smigiel is reintroducing legislation to create a state license plate emblazoned with the words “Maryland Supports Veterans” after a year of campaigning for its passage.
State lawmakers and their executive appointees would now post their required ethics statements on the Internet beginning January 2013, if the governor signs the bill as expected.
Most Marylanders will see their flush tax bill double from $30 to $60 beginning July 1, but the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund will remain vulnerable to raids that have climbed to $290 million since 2010.
The Senate approved the fee increase in 28-18 vote late Saturday, with an amendment that exempts residents far western Maryland and the Ocean City area that are not part of the Chesapeake Bay drainage area.
A Senate bill to require online financial disclosures of state and county officials hit a wall of skepticism Wednesday from House Environmental Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh. She said the time to consider the privacy ramifications for legislators was running out in the closing days of the legislative session.
House lawmakers Monday night passed a 7.5% state severance tax on natural gas in a 82-51 vote, after the delegates on Saturday fended off an amendment from Del. Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett, that would cap state and local taxes on natural gas extraction at 7.5% combined.