MACo’s Board of Directors recently met with Maryland House of Delegates GOP Leadership, Minority Leader Nic Kipke and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, to discuss transportation and education policy issues that may be discussed and debated during the upcoming General Assembly session. The meeting took place as a part of MACo’s annual fall board retreat and also provided an opportunity for members to discuss the organization’s 2014 Legislative Priorities.
During discussions, Delegate Kipke shared how cost of living increases are affecting life in Maryland, and described how a minimum wage increase would affect very few Marylanders and could potentially hurt the middle class. The solution, he suggested, could be income tax relief. All parties acknowledged that wide discussion over wage issues was likely in the session ahead.
On the topic of transportation, the Delegates offered to advocate on behalf of counties for a return of a portion of Highway User Revenues to county government for maintenance of local roads. Delegate Szeliga recalled how the semantics of the discussion had changed in recent years, reinforcing her understanding of the county government share of the revenues paid by motorists.
MACo’s Board members shared their interest in encouraging deeper cooperation between county governments and school boards on joint programs that will support students and help communities, while creating efficiencies. They spoke about MACo’s 2014 education initiative which seeks to provide certainty and finality to agreements reached at the local level – between counties and school boards. Delegate Szeliga, who has a background in education, voiced her support for the idea of a stronger county and school board voice in curriculum decisions that can create “pendulum swings” in the education system that affect teachers, students, families, and county budgets.