Western Maryland Legislators Discuss Upcoming Session, Support of Highway User Revenues

Western Maryland legislators met with members of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce to discuss and preview the upcoming legislative session. While the election year makes it difficult to predict what may occur, all legislators said they are committed to increasing the local share of highway user revenues.

From the Cumberland Times-News article:

“It’s an election year session. No one wants to irritate anybody,” said [Senator George] Edwards. The art of prediction can be difficult, one delegate said.

“It’s harder to tell you what’s going to happen than it is to come back after the session and tell you what happened,” said[Delegate Wendell] Beitzel.

All the legislators said they are committed to increasing local highway user funding, which has decreased dramatically over the years. The fees used to go to localities to help with local road upkeep.

Senator Edwards also commented that “the election year could bring a bill offering some reduction in the state’s corporate income tax.”  One issue that he said gets overlooked in the state’s structural deficit.

“I believe the structural deficit is the biggest problem for the state of Maryland,” he said. Much of that deficit occurs via what Edwards called “under budgeting” by the governor. The governor will request an amount of money to fund an agency or project that isn’t sufficient to do so, then at the end of the year, a deficit is left behind.

The structural deficit is created when projected spending has exceeded revenues. This year’s deficit is expected to reach $400 million, Edwards said.