House Panel Rejects POS Cuts

During its decision meeting today, the House Appropriations Committee’s Capital Budget Subcommittee voted to reject the Senate’s proposed cutbacks to Program Open Space, Agricultural Land Preservation, and other transfer tax funded programs. The Senate proposal, at one point, could have reduced funding to the local share of Program Open Space by some $110 million over the coming four budget years.

Waterloo Park, photo courtesy of Howard County Maryland

During Senate capital budget deliberations, the Budget and taxation Committee debated a formal amendment to the Capital Budget bill, creating an effective “cap” for several future years on the funding for the several programs traditionally funded by the state transfer tax. Following some rapid public reaction to the proposal (from counties among other stakeholders), the Committee and full Senate instead adopted narrative toward the same ends. Committee narrative does not have the same force of law as statute, and the item was not debatable on the floor of the Senate.

For detail on the fiscal effects of the proposed cutbacks, see previous Conduit Street coverage:
Program Open Space On Chopping Block, Yet Again

MACo will continue to work with its Park and Recreation Affiliate, and other stakeholders, to resist the actual cuts or statements of intentions to divert this critical funding stream.

More information on POS is available at the DNR website.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties