Fiscal Matters to Dominate Second Half of Session

As reported by the Gazette, in the second half of the session, social issues will likely fade from the forefront, leaving members to focus their attention on fiscal and tax matters.

Although fiscal issues always dominate the second half of the session, when the budget is passed, the sheer number of tax proposals and their far-reaching effects will take more time to discuss and likely will squeeze out some other issues, the experts said.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County political science professor Laura Hussey says issues such as repealing the death penalty and a number of gun bills won’t get as much attention as they would in a session with weaker economic undercurrents.

Issues that need  to be resolved include the “gas tax, pension shift, online taxes, wind energy and flush tax.”

The article had this to say about the pension shift.

Legislators also are hearing from local governments and the Maryland Association of Counties, which are fiercely opposed to the pension shift proposal.

Under O’Malley’s plan, the state and jurisdictions each would pay half of the total cost of teacher pensions and Social Security, a move that would shift $239 million onto local governments.

“Counties should not be asked to assume financial responsibility for costs not of their making,” Montgomery County leaders said in a statement released Thursday. “We have cut services to the bone, and we have reached our limit on taxes.”

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