Senate Budget Plan – formal amendment language available

Now that SB 141, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) has been “read across” the floor of the Senate and the Committee’s proposed amendments have been formally offered, that exact language is publicly available.

Many county officials have expressed interest in receiving the proposed statutory language to implement elements of the plan with massive county effect — notably the permanent cuts to local road funding, and the proposed phase-in shift of pension responsibility from the State to local employers.

    KEY AMENDMENT LANGUAGE

Highway User Funds reduced permanently (Amendments, page 19 of 56):

8–402.
(c) (1) [During] EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH (2) OF THIS SUBSECTION, FOR each fiscal year [,]:
(I) 19% OF THE REVENUE CREDITED TO THE ACCOUNT SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE STATE;
(II) 71.5% OF THE REVENUE CREDITED TO THE ACCOUNT MAY BE USED AS PROVIDED IN § 3–216 OF THIS ARTICLE;

MACo Explanation: This is the permanent assignment of funding from the Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Revenue Account, which for many years distributed 30% to local governments. This law change would specify that after the State takes 90.5% (the two distributions specified in the language excerpted above), the remaining local share would permanently become 9.5%, less than one-third of historic funding amounts (essentially continuing the funding levels of the current year indefinitely).

Local distribution of Highway User Funds (Amendments, page 21 of 56):

(A) SUBJECT TO §§ 3–307 AND 3–308 OF THIS ARTICLE, AND EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION, FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR, FROM THE TOTAL HIGHWAY USER REVENUES:
(1) AN AMOUNT SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO BALTIMORE CITY MONTHLY EQUAL TO 8.8% OF TOTAL HIGHWAY USER REVENUES;
(2) AN AMOUNT SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE COUNTIES AT THE TIMES SPECIFIED IN § 8-407 OF THIS SUBTITLE, TO BE ALLOCATED AS PROVIDED IN § 8-404 OF THIS SUBTITLE, EQUAL TO 0.6% OF TOTAL HIGHWAY USER REVENUES; AND
(3) AN AMOUNT SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE MUNICIPALITIES AT THE TIMES SPECIFIED IN § 8-407 OF THIS SUBTITLE, TO BE ALLOCATED AS PROVIDED IN § 8-405 OF THIS SUBTITLE, EQUAL TO 0.1% OF TOTAL HIGHWAY USER REVENUES.

MACo explanation: This establishes the distribution, among Baltimore City and the remaining jurisdictions, of the 9.5% of funding that would continue to go to local governments.

Uncodified “Direction” on Future Highway User Revenues (Amendment, pages 26-27 of 56)

SECTION 34. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That it is the intent of the General Assembly that the Governor by budget amendment partially restore local highway user revenues for fiscal year 2010 that were reduced by actions taken by the Board of Public Works in August 2009, to implement the distributions of highway user revenues for fiscal year 2010 as reflected in § 8-403 of the Transportation Article as enacted by this Act.

SECTION 35. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That it is the intent of the General Assembly that a working group formed in statute or by order of the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House looking at transportation funding or local aid issues shall review and provide recommendations for how local highway user revenues shall be distributed in fiscal year 2013 and thereafter.


MACo explanation: Section 34 would direct an adjustment to offset an “overdistribution” of FY 2010 Highway User Revenues with an offset in FY 2011. Section 35 guides the existing Joint Work Group on State, County, and Municipal Fiscal Relationships to investigate these funding issues.

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