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March 7, 2014

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NACo Passes Resolutions on Minimum Wage, Keystone XL Pipeline, and Unaccompanied Children

July 23, 2014

The National Association of Counties passed several resolutions to guide this year’s legislative agenda at its recent annual conference. Representatives from counties across the country debated controversial resolutions, including the minimum wage, Keystone XL pipeline, and unaccompanied children crossing the border. For more information, read all of the resolutions adopted at the conference. Tabs for the resolutions on minimum wage, keystone XL pipeline, and unaccompanied children are also available.

Resolutions are developed through NACo steering committees, which are active throughout the year to keep in touch with key issue areas. As described by NACo,

Legislation and policy is the heart of NACo’s role in Washington, D.C. NACo’s legislative staff assist the NACo Steering Committees in developing national legislative policies and ensure that policy is communicated to Members of Congress, the Administration and related agencies​.

To join a NACo Steering Committee, contact Robin Clark, Policy Analyst, Maryland Association of Counties (410) 269-0043. For more information about Steering Committees, see NACo’s website.

Last year, Maryland members served on the following Steering Committees:

  1. Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee
  2. Large Urban County Caucus Steering Committee
  3. Community and Economic Development Steering Committee
  4. Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee
  5. Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee
  6. Health Steering Committee
  7. Human Services and Education Steering Committee
  8. Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee
  9. Telecommunications & Technology Steering Committee
  10. Transportation Steering Committee

 


3 Ways MACo’s Sponsors Are There for You at #MACoCon

July 23, 2014

Welcome to MACo SC

1. Stay connected!
Complimentary wireless internet provided by Maryland Broadband Cooperative.
You need to keep in touch with what’s happening in your county while you’re with us for the conference -  the Maryland Broadband Cooperative has you covered. Complimentary wireless internet is available throughout the Convention Center.

 

2. Find your way.
MACo’s Mobile App, sponsored by lead sponsor Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company and co-sponsor Nationwide Retirement Solutions, will help you navigate the event.
The Mobile App features an event schedule with session descriptions and speaker information, lists of sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees with their contact information, and maps of the venue. Download the app for free today to plan your day and find your way at MACo’s Summer Conference.

 

3. Take a break.
Software AG is offering attendees the use of a break room – Room 211 on the second floor.
Stop in for a handful of popcorn, a quiet place to rest, take a phone call, check your email, or hold a quick impromptu meeting. While you’re there, drop your business card in the bowl for a chance to win a free app design for your county or business from Software AG.

 

MACo’s sponsors support the event and our attendees in many and varying ways – all important additions to the MACo Summer Conference experience. Read more about our generous sponsors.


MACo Summer Conference Registration Deadline Approaching: July 30

July 23, 2014

July 30 is the last chance to register at our current low rates! Register today – rates increase on July 31.

Brochure Cover - smallDon’t miss MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference, “Ideas & Innovations,” August 13-16 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Maryland’s county governments are working hard every day to “do more with less.” This conference is about how we’re doing just that—the Ideas & Innovations that are helping us serve Maryland’s residents at high capacity with low funding.

An estimated 2,000 local government officials, county staff decision‐makers, legislators, business representatives, and exhibitors will convene at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland for MACo’s Summer Conference on August 13‐16, 2014.

Participants will learn about new and ground‐breaking methods to provide necessary services, creative ways to fund existing and upcoming projects, and intergovernmental, public, and private sector partners who can help counties achieve our goals.

MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Need more information?

  • Contact Virginia White if you are interested in presenting, or if you have general conference questions
  • Contact Leslie Velasco if you are interested in exhibiting
  • Contact Kaley Schultze if you are interested in sponsoring
  • Contact Allison Valliant if you are interested in the golf tournament

Thank You to the Sponsors of MACo’s Summer Conference!

July 23, 2014

MACo’s Summer Conference would not be possible without the contributions of our generous sponsors. Thank you, sponsors – we truly appreciate your participation and support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Event & Food Sponsors:

 

General Sponsors:

 

Mobile App Sponsors:

 

Mobile App Badge Sponsors:

 

Golf Tournament Sponsors:

 

Program Ad Sponsors:


Federal Update – Bill Extends Sales Tax to Internet Sales, Moratorium on Taxing Internet Access

July 23, 2014

A new bipartisan bill, the Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act (MITFA)(S.2609), was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate addressing two issues of interest for county governments. From the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Update:

  • It includes the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) as passed by the Senate in 2013 with a few minor technical corrections. MFA allows state and local governments to enforce existing sales taxes on remote sellers.
  • Provides a ten-year extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). ITFA prohibits counties from collecting a tax on Internet access (typically a subscription service) until November 1, 2014. While a 10-year extension is not the best case scenario for counties, it is better than the House proposal (H.R. 3086) for a permanent extension.

According to the Update,

The Marketplace Fairness Act, which was passsed by the U.S. Senate in May, 2013 with broad bipartisan support (69 Yeas – 27 Nays), would grant authority to state and local governments to enforce existing sales and use tax laws on remote sellers. The bill would not create a new tax, but would create a level playing field for retailers regardless of their choice of venue and would grant collection authority only after states have simplified their sales tax laws.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, for Marylanders, this federal legislative change will result in the gas tax, which passed during the 2013 session, increasing at a lower rate.  As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

In Maryland, the General Assembly just approved legislation that is expected to increase the state’s 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax by about 20 cents by mid-2016. But if the federal government allows the state to apply its sales tax to Internet retailers, motorists could be spared about 7 cents of the gas tax increase, General Assembly officials have said.

The motor fuel tax legislation that passed phases in a 5-cent sales tax on gasoline with the final two percent increase taking effect only if federal legislation fails to extend the sales tax to remote sellers.

The  Internet Tax Freedom Act established a moratorium that has been extended three times to prohibit state and local governments from collecting a tax on internet access. The MITFA would extend this moratorium for another 10 years. Other efforts, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086), would permanently prohibit state and local governments from taxing internet access.

NACo opposes this bill because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that removing the grandfathered states would deprive those states and local governments of several hundred million dollars annually and thus would be an unfunded mandate. Additionally, permanently extending ITFA would preempt an entire, fast-developing industry from taxation. Many services including cable and telecommunications services will transition to broadband, resulting in a significant expansion of the scope of services that ITFA will shield from state and local taxation.

 


2014 Shore Leadership Class Examines Caroline County’s Community & Legacy

July 23, 2014

 

A July 22 MyEasternShoreMD article reported that the 2014 Shore Leadership class examined the interplay between cultural history, government, and business in Caroline County.  From the article:

The program focused on how the Eastern Shore can use its distinct cultural and community characteristics as opportunities to create and grow an emerging pool of leaders who will help to sustain the Eastern Shore into the next century.  …

Presenters who participated in the legacy and community session included: Sue Simmons, executive director of Caroline County Parks and Recreation; Kathy Mackel, director of the Caroline County Office of Tourism; Beth Brewster, founder of the Chesapeake Culinary Center and coordinator of food services for Caroline County Public Schools; Marina Dowdall, executive director of the Caroline County Arts Center; Amy Jacocks, program coordinator for the Fibre Arts Center of the Eastern Shore; Ellie Altman, executive director of Adkins Arboretum and Neta Settin, superintendent of the Maryland State Parks, according to the release.

The Shore Leadership program is designed to train future government, business, and citizen leaders and educate them about the unique challenges faced by Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  From the program’s website:

Since 1997, the Shore Leadership program has been facilitating positive change and enhancing the quality of life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Participants meet one day each month at locations throughout the Eastern Shore, beginning with an overnight retreat in April at the Aspen Wye River Conference Facility and culminating in a December graduation. A master-certified leadership coach facilitates the sessions, which include leadership development training, as well as focused discussions on topics of regional interest. Topics include aspects of legacy, technology, economic development, community and arts, environment, education, and government.

 


Sustainable Growth Commission Releases Revised IRR Draft

July 23, 2014

Infill, Redevelopment & Revistalization

 

 

 

 

 

 

On July 21 the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission released a preliminary draft of its proposed Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy for public comment.  The preliminary draft is an updated version of an earlier draft circulated at various public forums and commented upon by MACo.

June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

MACo’s Comments on June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

July 22 Updated IRR Recommendations

Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown sent a letter to Commission on January 22, 2014, requesting that the Commission make recommendations ““to accelerate Maryland’s infill, redevelopment, and revitalization efforts.”  In response, the Commission has considered a wide range of statutory, regulatory, fiscal, and policy proposals to increase the use of IRR.  Some of these proposals would provide additional tools to local land use planners while others would impose land use and taxation mandates.

The Commission will meet on July 28 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the Talbot County Library (100 West Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601) to discuss the updated recommendations.  Public comments will be accepted through August 20.  The Commission expects to adopt a final version of the recommendations on August 27.  The Commission’s deadline for submitting its recommendations is August 31.

Sustainable Growth Commission July 22 Press Release

Conduit Street Coverage of the IRR Policy

Commission Chair Jon Laria will take part in an IRR Panel at the 2014 MACo Summer Conference.  Click here for further information on the panel, entitled “Is IRR Maryland’s Next Big Land Use Policy?”

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.


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