Budget Hearings Are Underway – How To Follow Along

The Governor has introduced his budget proposal, and the General Assembly’s process of review and analysis has already begun. For county officials, and other interested parties, here are online resources you can use to keep up with some of the biggest issues before the 2015 legislative session.

Budget Hearings – each state agency and other unit funded through the budget will present before both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee (or in many cases, one of their subcommittees) – a process that generally includes a thorough analysis by the legislative staff agency the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), a written and/or oral response from the affected agency, and then legislators’ questions and comments on program efficiency, budget decisions, and so forth. These hearings are all open to the public, but opportunities for public participation will vary.

Schedules of these budget hearings are online, organized two ways:
Budget Hearing Schedule By Agency
Session Schedule – Calendar Format

The written analyses by DLS are often a ripe source of background, detail, and policy options affecting the state agency and their programs:
Operating Budget Analyses
Capital Budget Analyses

County Effects and Analysis – MACo will compile issues affecting county budgets and governments, including policy recommendations arising during budget hearings.
County Budget Effects – Initial Summary
State Budget Documents

The latest publications on budget topics can always be found online at the General Assembly website.

DLS has also prepared a more detailed Guide to the Legislative Process.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties