Changes to NACo Prescription Drug Card Program Outlined

As previously reported on Conduit Street, last month the National Association of Counties' (NACo) Board of Directors voted to alter  the NACo Prescription Discount Card Program, a change that will now provide participating counties with an option to receive a $1 fee for each prescription filled.  Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the changes to the program. Q: If my county has already signed a contract, do we need to sign the new…

County Perspective – Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2013

Accompanying the Governor's proposed FY 2013 budget is the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) of 2013.  Because the budget bill itself cannot amend state laws or effect provisions lasting beyond its own fiscal year, the BRFA makes the changes to law, both short-term and long, to implement the budget plan. The BRFA of 2013 contains many statutory provisions of concern for county governments.  MACo has prepared a chart summarizing these provisions and county concerns.

Governor Proposes a 6% Sales Tax on Gasoline

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Governor announced on WTOP's "Ask The Governor" program, his support to apply the 6% sales tax to gasoline sales as a way to raise funds for transportation infrastructure.  As reported by the Washington Post: The sales tax would be phased in annually in increments of 2 percent at the wholesale level, meaning that a gallon of gas that now costs $3.48 at the pump would increase 6 cents. If the…

MACo Summary of 2012 Septics Legislation and Comparison with 2011 Septics Bill

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor O'Malley introduced his septics legislation (SB 236) last week.  The bill stems from recommendations made last year by the Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal and prohibts major subdivisions on septic systems.  Local governments that adopt a "4 tier system" in their comprehensive plans will have some additional flexibility.  A major change in the bill is that the Maryland Department of the Environment will now approve…

Bay Restoration Fee May Quadruple For Some Residential Users

Governor Martin O'Malley unveiled his legislation last week to increase the Bay Restoration Fee (BRF).  Rejecting a recommendation from the Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal to triple the fee, the Governor instead opted to double the annual fee from $30 to $60 for septic system users and charge sewer users based on their actual water consumption.  However, a January 27 article raises concerns that the water consumption guides in the bill may actually almost quadruple the fee…

Maryland’s Phase II WIP Released for Public Comment

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has released its draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which details how the State and county governments plan to meet the nutrient and sediment reduction goals of the federally mandated Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  For copies of the Phase II WIP and information about providing comments, click here.  The site contains the draft Phase II WIP executive summary, main report, and county plans.   The public comment…

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January 2012 Income Tax Distribution Declines 9.5% From Prior Year

The Office of the Comptroller released its detail of the January 2012 distribution of local income taxes.  According to the electronic message, the January distribution totals $63.7 million, a 9.5% decline from FY 2011.  This distribution includes the additional filings distribution for tax year 2010 and the interest/penalty distribution for the first half of fiscal year 2012.  From the electronic message: The additional filings distribution, a reconciling distribution accounting for all tax year 2010 returns posted…

LGIT Announces Policy Year 2013 Regional Workshop Schedule

The Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) has announced the dates for the "Policy Year 2013: Regional Workshops." The day long workshop addresses information on FY2013 rates, coverage changes, and other LGIT services, as well as opportunities to speak with LGIT staff about any aspect of the Trust's risk management programs and services. The workshops are offered on the following dates: March 1 - Cambridge Yacht Club March 6 - La Plata, Town Hall March 13…

Harford Faces Multiple School Questions

In the online news publication The Dagger, Cindy Mumby writes of the range of issues facing school funding in Harford County. The range of issues -- including labor relations, maintenance of effort, and the proposed shift of teacher pensions -- mirror those arising in every county's budget deliberations. Like all public school systems in Maryland, Harford County Public Schools depends upon state and local government for revenue and must negotiate its largest expense, employee compensation,…

Governor O’Malley Supporting Sales Tax on Gasoline

Today, Governor O'Malley announced his support for the state sales tax to apply to gasoline sales, a measure different from that previously discussed by a task force on transportation funding. The Governor broke his decision in an interview on WTOP radio -- their online coverage is here. From WTOP: While speaking on WTOP's "Ask the Governor," Martin O'Malley said he would like to "phase out" the sales tax exemption on gas, which would allow a…

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