Now that the dust has settled, this post provides the final status of finance and procurement related bills of interest.
Transportation “Lock Box:” Numerous pieces of legislation were introduced to prohibit the transfer of revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund to the State General Fund, requiring these revenues to be used for their intended purpose, transportation. Some bills protected the historical local share of Highway User Revenue or amendments were offered to do so (HB 518, HB 591, HB 926), while others protected the local share as currently distributed (SB 677, SB 714/HB 1001). Status: These bills were either voted unfavorable by the Senate Budget and Taxation or the House Appropriations Committees, or not acted upon. In the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (HB 72), the General Assembly adopted language to require a five year repayment plan for any future transfers of Transportation Trust Fund revenues to the General Fund.
Distressed Counties: SB 891 expands the definition of “qualified distressed counties” to ensure that the current counties (Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Somerset, and Worcester and Baltimore City) would continue to benefit from these types of programs, and possibly expand these opportunities to other counties which may be struggling due to the difficult economy. MACo supported this legislation. Status: SB 891 passed the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.