House Committee Budget Actions Restore Funding to Local Governments

As reported on Conduit Street, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its FY 2016 budget plan on Friday, March 13, which almost restores full funding for education, restores a 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for State employees, and increases Medicaid rates for health care providers. A number of these approved actions restore funding to local governments.

The House’s FY 2016 budget plan will be debated before the full Chamber this week, while the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will begin its decision process this Tuesday.  Any differences in the House and Senate budget plans will be resolved by a conference committee.

Actions affecting local governments are summarized below.

Budget Category Governor’s Proposed Budget Appropriations Committee Action
Education Aid Reduces funding for education by $76 million – freezes the per pupil amount at the FY 2015 level of $6,860 and delays the implementation of the phased-in change for the calculation of wealth in the education formula by one year.Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) is cut in half – an approximate $64 million reduction Restores $130 million – rejected the Governor’s proposal to freeze per pupil funding in the education formula and cap out-year growth; identified $68 million to restore GCEIAgreed to extend the phase-in of a wealth measure used in the funding formula – reduction of approximately $13 million.
Community Colleges Reduces funding by $13 million by modifying the community college aid formula Restores $4 million in funding and applies a hold harmless grant to ensure no community college receives less than the prior year
Libraries Extends the time for phasing-in the increase in the per-resident amount from 5 to 10 years; Per-resident amount increases from $14.00 to $14.27 instead of $15.00 in FY 2016 Agreed to the extension of the per pupil phase-in – an approximate $2.3 million reduction
Transportation Supplemental Budget provides $25 million for local transportation funding – $4 million counties; $19 million municipalities; $2 million Baltimore City Approved supplemental funding, remains intact
Local Health Departments Funding is being reduced to the FY 2014 level of $41.7 million for FY 2015 and FY 2016 Restores $3.9 million for local health departments in FY 2016
Police Aid Funding is being reduced to the FY 2014 level of $67.3 million for FY 2015 and FY 2016Department of Legislative Services (DLS) recommended an additional $25 million reduction Police aid remains funded at $67.3 millionCommittee rejected the DLS recommendation
Disparity Grant Funding is being reduced and capped at the FY 2014 level of $127.7 million Program is funded at current law $129.8 million, restoring $2.1 million; Administration to offer amendment to clarify funding cap and how it affects the funding level for each jurisdiction
Program Open Space Deletes a statutorily scheduled $50m repayment of Program Open Space funds diverted in past years, and redirecting some funding from the state transfer tax to the general fund, instead of POS and related programs statutorily receiving those funds Transfers $12.8 million in Program Open Space funding to the General Fund in FY 2016; Transfers the unencumbered fund balance of $10.5 million to the General Fund in FY 2015; Delays the $50 million statutory repayment to FY 2019
Park Lands – Payment in Lieu of Taxes Eliminates payments to counties from State Park revenues for FY 2015 and 2016 ($2.5 million) Modified reduction to $2.2 million restoring $235,000 for Garrett County
Video lottery terminal local impact grants Maintains $7.85 million (FY 2015 – $4,073,964 and FY 2016 – $3,887,697) that would otherwise be allocated as local impact grants within the Education Trust Fund Rejected transfer of funds to the Education Trust Fund keeping local impact grants intact
Local Income Tax Reserve Fund Transfers $100 million from the local income tax reserve fund to the General Fund requiring the State to repay the transfer Adopted transfer with State  repayment of $10 million a year beginning in FY 2016
Freeze on Mandatory Spending Caps funding increases for statutorily mandated programs beginning in FY 2017 to a percentage increase in General Fund revenues as determined by the Board of Public Works Rejected language to permanently cap the growth in statutorily mandated funding formulas