MACo’s Legislative Committee met for the last time during the 2015 Session on April 1 and guest speakers included Governor Larry Hogan, State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot. Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings also stopped in but had to leave for a voting session before he was able to offer comments.
In his brief remarks, Governor Hogan thanked the counties for their “hard work this Session.” He also noted that he would try to visit every county this year and would be attending MACo’s Summer Conference in Ocean City. The Governor did not discuss specific issues regarding the legislative session but did note he was generally pleased with the bipartisan cooperation between his Administration and the General Assembly.
State Treasurer Kopp stated that while the Session started on “shaky” grounds, she had been impressed with the level of civility shown by both the Administration and the General Assembly. Regarding revenue projections, Kopp noted, “revenues are going up, although not as quickly as we would like.” She also stressed that Maryland remains in better economic shape than many other states. Like the Governor, Kopp highlighted her willingness to work with the counties, including providing investment and debt advice. She also promoted Maryland’s college savings plan.
Comptroller Franchot stated the importance of counties – “You give us reports from the front line, what’s going on.” He reiterated his positions about the need to diversify Maryland’s economy and watch the State’s spending and debt. He discussed the importance of rewarding private sector innovation; improving certainty for businesses; and adopting a multi-year moratorium on new taxes, fees, and regulations. He stressed the State needed to adopt a long-range view of the economic situation and have “fiscal responsibility with a purpose.” Franchot promoted the importance of school building maintenance and financial literacy education.