The House Ways and Means Committee heard from local officials and the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) on January 30 during its annual Local Aid Briefing. During the briefing, DLS provided an overview of State Aid to Local Governments and MACo presented its 2014 Legislative Priorities. Testifying for MACo were the Association’s Past President and Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, Montgomery Council President and MACo Education Subcommittee Chair Craig Rice, Policy Analyst Robin Clark, and Legislative Director Andrea Mansfield. The committee also heard from representatives from the Maryland Municipal League.
The lengthy State Aid to Local Governments Fiscal 2015 Allowance document provides in-depth information of the Governor’s proposed budget and funding trends by area of local government – public schools, libraries, community colleges, local health, and county/municipal. Page 4 of the document compares the average annual increase in funding for two separate time periods. From Fiscal 2002-2008, county/municipal average annual funding increased by 4.1%. However, from Fiscal 2008-2015 average annual funding declined by 6.9%. Page 5 provides local government funding trends by category from Fiscal 2006 to Fiscal 2015. The county/municipal category began to see declines in State Aid in Fiscal 2008, with aid declining by 46% in Fiscal 2010. State aid has increased since that time, but it is still approximately one-half of the Fiscal 2007 funding level.
MACo’s representatives discussed the Governor’s Fiscal 2015 budget, and two of MACo’s legislative initiatives – Transportation Funding Restoration and Empowering School Board/County Partnerships. A similar presentation took place before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on January 9.
A complete listing of all fiscal 2015 budget documents affecting county governments can be found on MACo’s website under Research, then Budget and Finance.