This Week’s MACo Testimony – Week of March 3, 2014

The MACo staff gave testimony this week on the following bills:

March 4, 2014:

MACo opposed the original version of this bill, creating several new and more rigid requirements for hiring and firing of county health officers.  MACo and county health officers have since worked with the sponsor, the Department, and supported an amended version of the bill, which is still pending in its House Committee.

A MACo panel and other county officials supported this incremental phase-in of a share of state transportation revenues back to local governments as Highway User Revenues.  This bill, arising from MACo’s 2014 legislative initiative, represents an incremental approach without upending the most immediate major state projects.

MACo opposed this bill, which would completely phase out local boards of electricians, and largely minimize county oversight over these licensees.

MACo opposed legislation targeting MACo and MML, which could have a chilling effect on governmental participation in policy affairs, and would create disparities in the treatment of different counties’ representation means.

March 5, 2014:

MACo suggested amendments to these bills authorizing special development zones around colleges and universities, seeking local agreement with the zone prior to any tax credits that affect the local government revenue streams.

MACo opposed legislation opening counties to more lawsuits arising from the use of artificial turf fields.

MACo supported a bill requiring studies of pollution and management practices surrounding the Conowingo Dam, whose federal permit is pending federal re-approval.

MACo supported legislation to incrementally adjust the per capita funding for public libraries across the state.

MACo opposed legislation expanding the breadth of considerations for state-granted permits, citing both cost and administrative concerns.

MACo supported greater “public access” laws for recreational projects, with amendments clarifying their intent and place within currently adopted recreation plans.

MACo supported an additional bill to fully restore the traditional 30% share of Highway User Revenues funding to local governments.

March 6, 2014:

MACo supported legislation authorizing additional federally-supported bonds for targeted school construction projects.

MACo supported this bill to improve the “nonrecurring costs” process for county school funding.  The bill would better enable counties with one-time spending needs or one-time revenue capacity to direct funding toward school budgets, without triggering the perpetual funding requirements.

MACo opposed a broad expansion of tax credits, citing substantial fiscal concerns and lack of local autonomy.

MACo opposed changes to the tax treatment of home equity loans, but expressed interest in helping to resolve technical or administrative issues that may have given rise to the bill.

MACo supported granting local governments authority to withdraw local business license for multiple offender businesses.

MACo supported an additional bill to fully restore the traditional 30% share of Highway User Revenues funding to local governments.

MACo opposed a proposal to create reimbursement rates for physician-dispensed medications, citing substantial cost increases under workers’ compensation in particular.

MACo supported granting charter counties flexibility to conduct special elections for county executive races, which is currently not allowed under the state constitution.

MACo opposed broad new collective bargaining rights for all community colleges, citing both administrative burdens and expected salary and cost inflation.

March 7, 2014:

MACo opposed a change to allowances for equipment depreciation, which could have dramatic fiscal effects on both the state and county income taxes.

To see online versions of MACo’s written testimony from the 2014 legislative session, click here.

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