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Double Tax Amendment Fails, Maryland Checkbooks, Counties Could Take Hit

Maryland’s recently elected U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen is leading the charge to protect a tax deduction popular in Maryland. So far, efforts have failed to preserve the state and local tax deduction, however.

The National Association of Counties urges Counties to advocate to preserve the state and local tax deduction (SALT) to protect against double taxation. NACo portrays eliminating the exemption a shift of revenues from local and state governments. The Honorable Roy Charles Brooks, President of NACo states,

 

Eliminating SALT to pay for tax reform efforts would reverse more than 150 years of national tax policy and constitute a $1.3 trillion federal revenue grab. That’s $1.3 trillion less in our residents’ pockets to support local services our communities need.

Roy Charles Brooks, NACo President and Commissioner, Tarrant County, Texas advocates for preserving the state and local tax deduction.

About 45 percent of all Maryland taxpayers utilize that state and local income deduction – that’s the highest percentage in the country. Nearly 1.3 million Marylanders took advantage of the SALT deductions in 2015, reducing their taxable income by an average of $9,010 per individual, according to IRS data.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, the first attempt to preserve the deduction failed,

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul.

For more information, see Van Hollen leads unsuccessful first effort to preserve tax deduction popular in Maryland from the Baltimore Sun.

From Senator Van Hollen’s newsroom, the Senator states the issue is not a partisan one,

“This deduction helps millions of people in Maryland and across the country – and getting rid of it will hit the pocketbooks the middle class families the hardest. It also would tie the hands of state and local governments, which provide critical services in every community across America. This is not a partisan issue, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.”

For more information see Van Hollen, Cantwell Introduce Amendment to Ensure Tax Fairness, Protect Middle Class from Being Taxed Twice on Their Paychecks

Free Webinar: The Economic Consequences of the Opioid Crisis

REMI (Regional Economic Models, Inc.) is hosting a free webinar on The Economic Consequences of the Opioid Crisis. The presentation will include a dynamic fiscal analysis that identifies and quantifies the wide array of negative impacts on state and local governments generated by the crisis. The webinar will be held on Thursday, November 9th from 2:00 -3:00 pm.

More information from REMI on the opioid crisis and the webinar:

The prescription opioid abuse and dependence epidemic arrived suddenly in 1999 and has only been gaining momentum in terms of scope and intensity since then. Opioid deaths have quadrupled in that time frame and the advanced necessity for treatment and prevention options is both directly and indirectly affecting the rest of the public. Policy makers are still trying to learn as much as possible about the magnitude of this nationwide crisis and determine the best strategies for combating it.

This presentation will build on a 2016 study that modeled the main direct costs of opioid abusers and dependents on our society. At the national level, the loss of workers to either premature deaths or extended absences from the labor force depress production and lower aggregate demand, slowing down the growth of the economy. At the regional level, heavily impacted states face potential out-migration as well as increased costs for health care, substance abuse treatment, and the incarceration of drug offenders. This combination of factors places a severe strain on state budgets as both the tax base falls and expenditures rise.

Almost 2 million people are estimated to meet the criteria for opioid abuse and dependence with 16,000 losing their lives as a result of their addiction. The total economic burden of those consumed by this public health crisis has already cost the economy upwards of $78.5 billion and few substantive efforts have been able to curb these rising expenditures on the local, state, and federal levels.

Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to ask any additional questions pertaining to the information in the webinar.

Advanced registration is required. To attend please visit the registration page.

Automotive Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems against Cyber Attacks by Panasonic

en171010-3-1Panasonic has developed an automotive intrusion detection and prevention system against cyber attacks.

Connected cars, any cars connected to the Internet, are vulnerable to cyber attacks. So Panasonic has developed a system to detect cyber attacks in real time and prevent them.

It allows for updates at the attacks are evolving, before cars were only preventing attacks know at the time the cars left the factory.

Features according to the Panasonic press release:

  1. Detects intrusions of attacks from the Internet at an early stage, and additionally detects intrusions to the in-vehicle network as a second step.
  2. In addition to the widely used CAN *1, the systems are also compatible with Ethernet*2, which is expected to spread in the future as an in-vehicle network, and enables comprehensive detections of intrusions to the entire vehicle.
  3. By collecting information from multiple vehicles on the cloud, the systems can detect attacks before they are identified as a true security incident.

The Technical Features include:

  • 1. In-vehicle device-type host intrusion detection technology: This technology detects intrusions from the Internet, which is an early stage of the attacks, and can be installed and used with Internet connected devices (IVI/TCU*3) In addition to clearly identifying the attacks from the obtainable logs from an OS like Linux and other various security functions, the system can also detect the attacks by combining multiple behavioral information.
  • 2. In-vehicle device-type CAN intrusion detection technology: This technology detects intrusions to CAN communication systems, which is a second stage of the attacks, and can be installed and used with CAN connected devices (ECU) There are two types of CAN monitoring usages, which consist of (1) CAN filter that filter unauthorized CAN commands received by the installed ECU, and (2) CAN monitoring that detects unauthorized commands by monitoring all CAN bus systems that are connected by the installed ECU. Unauthorized commands are judged by taking into consideration various conditions of the vehicle, so it is possible to reduce the number of false positive under specific conditions. Detection of unauthorized commands can be made for each single command, resulting is real-time prevention after detection.
  • 3. In-vehicle device-type Ethernet intrusion detection technology: This technology detects intrusions to Ethernet communication systems, which is a second stage of the attacks, and can be installed and used with Ethernet connected devices (ECU) There is an Ether filter that filters unauthorized Ether frames that are received or intercepted by the installed ECU (Ethernet Switch ECU, etc.) The system consists of the overlook method, which can lightly determine unauthorized commands by analyzing the frame headers and a detailed method, which has a high-load operation, but can accurately determine unauthorized commands. Flexible detection is possible by combining these methods.
  • 4. Cloud-type vehicle intrusion detection technology: This system analyzes a large amount of logs collected from in-vehicle devices of multiple vehicles through machine learning and can be used by placing it in the cloud. As for the usage, in-vehicle network model that has conducted prior learning, will automatically narrow down the logs that may become potential security risks. After that, the attack analysts will analyze only the selected logs. By linking with various in-vehicle device-type intrusion detection technologies, it is possible to grasp signs of attacks before they are identified as true security incidents
  • *1 CAN (Controller Area Network)
    CAN is a high noise-resistant serial communication protocol that was developed for vehicles, and current vehicles use in-vehicle networks via CAN communication to communicate between the vehicle ECU.
  • *2 Ethernet
    Using Ethernet to communicate between the ECU and electrical components within the vehicles based on the network standard used in offices and households is expected the increase the speed and capacity of data transmissions. It also enables data exchange with an IP base, making links to external network (cloud) even easier.
  • *3 IVI/TCU
    ・IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment): In-vehicle infotainment device
    ・TCU (Telematics Communication Unit): Communication control unit

Panasonic is Bronze Corporate Partner of MACo. Information from this article has been provided by a Panasonic press release.

For more information about MACo’s Corporate Partner Program visit our website.

McDaniels Elected President at MABE Annual Conference

Charles McDaniels, Jr., member of the Baltimore County Board of Education, became the 2017-2018 MABE president Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. He was sworn in during the Presidents Dinner at the MABE Conference.

Newly elected president Charles MCDaniels Jr. said about his new status:

It is truly an honor for me to serve as MABE’s president, and I want to thank the membership for allowing me to have this opportunity.  To impact the educational journey of our students is a tremendous responsibility that I approach very seriously.  All of you should be complimented for your dedication to the work of our boards, and I look forward to working with you in the coming months.

Other MABE board offers elected:

Tolbert Rowe, Caroline County, president-elect; Nancy Reynolds, Harford County, treasurer; and Martha James-Hassan, Baltimore City, secretary.

Other MABE local board members elected:

Michael A. Durso, Montgomery County; Tammy Fraley, Allegany County; Michael Garman, Talbot County; Stacy Korbelak, Anne Arundel County; Robert Lord, Carroll County; Virginia McGraw, Charles County; William J. Phalen, Sr., Calvert County; Phillip Rice, Dorchester County; Wayne Ridenour, Washington County; Laura Runyeon, Harford County; K. Alexander Wallace, Prince George’s County; and Mary Washington, St. Mary’s County.

MABE press release says about the conference:

On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, more than 150 school board members and other education leaders from across the state gathered for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education Annual Conference. The conference program gave members the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, emerging school law issues, and the future of school funding in Maryland.

. . .

At the business meeting, members adopted revisions to MABE’s Continuing Resolutions, which provide the foundation for the association’s legislative and policy positions in the coming year. Among those revisions were updates to 16 of the association’s 23 continuing resolutions, including substantial changes to resolutions on special education, technology, employee relations, and student health. The technology resolution was completely re-written and retitled as a resolution on Digital Learning that is rigorous, equitable, innovative and guided by instruction. The employee relations resolution was updated to highlight MABE’s strong opposition to “grounds for discipline” legislation to remove the authority to discipline teachers for misconduct from the local board of education and allow outside arbitrators to make these important decisions.

 

MACo’s Weekly County News & Notes… from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own Twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

Governor Hogan Announces Outdoor Recreational Economic Commission

A Governor’s Office press release (2017-10-14) announced the formation of a new Maryland Outdoor Recreational Economic Commission (MORE). MORE was created through Executive Order 01.01.2017.24. From the press release:

This commission will be responsible for developing strategies and making recommendations to the governor to strengthen the state’s outdoor recreation industry and help ensure increased investment in our state’s outdoor recreation resources.

“Maryland is abundant with natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources that contribute significantly to our economy and quality of life,” said Governor [Larry] Hogan. “This commission will help ensure that our state’s natural heritage is strengthened, bringing new businesses, increased tourism, and ultimately preserving our resources for future generations.”

The outdoor recreation economy in Maryland already generates 109,000 direct jobs, $14 billion in consumer spending, $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and $951 million in state and local tax revenue. Investment in outdoor recreation and nature and heritage tourism economies support many outdoor activities in Maryland, including hiking, biking, horse-back riding, paddling, boating, fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, wildlife-viewing, and visiting historic sites.

As part of their work, the commission will develop innovative strategies to market Maryland’s unique outdoor and heritage recreation brand, as well as recommend initiatives to grow and attract new companies. Additionally, the commission will explore ways to retain and support Maryland’s existing outdoor recreation businesses.

The commission will be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Mark Belton and the Secretary of the Department of Commerce Mike Gill and comprised of seventeen members appointed by the co-chairs with the approval of the governor. Members will include representatives of companies within Maryland’s outdoor recreation manufacturing and retail industry; representatives of companies representing small business outdoor or heritage recreation service providers; nonprofit organizations; representatives of gateway cities, towns, or communities; and legislative members.

The commission will provide a final report to the governor by December 1, 2019.

Useful Links

Executive Order 01.01.2017.24

E&T Committee Holds Open Work Session on Forest Conservation Act, Solar Siting

The House Environment and Transportation (E&T) Committee has announced it will be holding an open work session on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, to further study: (1) the Forest Conservation Act; and (2) solar energy and land management. The Committee will likely consider whether legislation in either of these areas is warranted for the 2018 Session.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Forest Conservation Act reform was a major initiative by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other environmental groups during the 2018 Session. Likewise, the siting of utility scale solar and other generation facilities resulted in legislation, including a successful MACo Legislative Initiative that gave local governments a greater voice in the siting process. However, legislation was also considered that would have allowed solar development on preserved agricultural lands. (HB 863 of 2017).

The E&T work session is set to begin a 1:00 pm and will be similar to a bill hearing in that interested parties may sign up and testify on either or both topics. A witness sign-up sheet will be located in the E&T hearing room (Room 251 in the House Office Building) starting at 9:00 am. If you want to bring handouts, 30 copies are required.

MACo plans to testify on both issues.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Forest Conservation Act

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of MACo Energy Siting Initiative

HB 863 of 2017

E&T Committee Web Page

 

Federal Judge Upholds Baltimore City Sewer Consent Decree

A Bay Journal article (2017-10-14) reported that the U.S. District Court has upheld a Baltimore City agreement that gives the City until 2030 to address its sewage overflow and backup problems.  According to the article, Judge J. Frederick Motz approved a new consent decree and rejected arguments from the environmental group Blue Water Baltimore that the agreement should be further strengthened. The new agreement is a modification of a 2002 agreement between the City and federal and state regulators that set a January 2016 deadline to address the problems. The article noted that Baltimore City has spent nearly $1 billion to repair its sewage infrastructure but was unable to meet the 2016 goals.

 

The revised agreement requires the City to fund a series of upgrade projects to reduce overflows by 80 percent after four years, with further improvements continuing until 2030. The estimated cost of the work is $1.6 billion, with most of that cost falling on the City. From the article:

Noting the failure of previous repairs to end overflows, [Blue Water Baltimore] wanted an additional provision added that would have required that the city to adjust its repair plans and do more if stream and harbor monitoring doesn’t show sufficient water-quality improvements.

Lawyers representing federal and city officials urged the judge to disregard the environmental group’s complaint, saying that the sewer repairs alone cannot be expected to make Baltimore’s water safe. Other sources of contamination that impact waterways, including those caused by illegal connections of sewer lines to storm drains, are to be dealt with separately in the city’s stormwater permits, they said.

Angela Haren, Blue Water’s advocacy director and the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, said the group is encouraged that the Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency both agree that “all useful data,” including water-quality monitoring, should be considered when determining whether the city’s sewer repairs have succeeded.

Useful Links

Blue Water Baltimore Website

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Baltimore City Sewer Consent Decree

Health Department Awarded $7.5M for Family Home Visits

The Maryland Department of Health was awarded a federal grant to expand a program that provides home visits, parenting skills, and other resources to pregnant women and families with young children. According to The Baltimore Sun:

The department will use the funds from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support local agencies that make home visits to women and parents through the state’s Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The goal of the program is to help the families raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

The article reports that while the program is statewide and voluntary, the department will target jurisdictions determined to have families most at risk and in need. These jurisdictions include: Baltimore City and Allegany, Baltimore, Caroline, Dorchester, Harford, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico counties.

Read The Baltimore Sun for more information.

Learn more about the ways state and local departments are partnering to bring health care into people’s homes and communities at the MACo Winter Conference.

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference: