Many Issues to Resolve With Only a Week Left in Session

An article in the Washington Post discusses the many issues to be resolved during the final week of the General Assembly session.  Below is an overview of some issues of importance to local governments.

Additional Funding for Transportation

And if O’Malley has his way, lawmakers, in the final days of the session, will begin to debate in earnest a proposal to pump more than $600 million a year in additional tax revenue into Maryland’s transportation system.

“I know that people are fatigued. I know that they’re tired of even the talk of it,” O’Malley said of his transportation plan, which would apply the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gasoline. “But I’m going to try.”

FY 2013 Budget

House and Senate budget negotiators are starting the final week with some major differences in their tax and spending plans. An initial meeting Friday to start working toward some compromises was postponed.

Both plans honor O’Malley’s wish to continue funding education at record levels and to raise taxes rather than cut projected spending increases that outpace still-depressed state tax revenue.

The Senate plan would collect most of its new revenue from
an across-the-board income tax increase; the House version would target the top fifth of state tax filers, or most of those earning more than $100,000.

The plans also differ in how quickly they shift part of the financial burden of teacher pensions from the state to counties — a long-festering issue in Annapolis that could be on the brink of resolution.

Septics

The Senate, meanwhile, has passed a bill that, in the interest of curbing sprawl and protecting the Chesapeake Bay, would require counties to draw mapped “tiers” of development before any major subdivisions served by septic systems could be approved.

That measure, which was weakened during Senate debate, moves to the House. A work group set to meet Monday will look at other provisions in the bill of concern to environmentalists.

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