Bill Increases State Funding Split for Library Projects

HB 685 Libraries – County Library Capital Project Grant – Wealth-Based Cost Share is currently moving through the House of Delegates, having recently received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate crossfile, SB633, has already passed.

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Melony Griffith and Senator Douglas J.J. Peters, both representing Prince George’s County, raises the minimum state share of funding for library capital projects to 50% and sets the maximum for state funding at 90%.  As a result of the bill, twelve counties will receive additional state funding for library capital projects in 2014.

As described by the Department of Legislative Services, the bill reflects recommendations resulting from a study conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education in cooperation with the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators, at the request of the 2012 Joint Chairmen’s Report of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.  The fiscal note states,

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, Allegany, St. Mary’s and Wicomico counties have rescinded grants awards under the public library capital grant program due to an inability to certify the required 50% local match.

Under the new law, twelve counties would have a local required match of less than 50%, including Allegany (10% local match) and Wicomico (18% local match).  To see the effect of this bill on library capital funding for each county, see the bill’s complete fiscal note.