Two major issues scheduled for this week will substantially shape the year ahead – the legislature’s decisions on veto overrides, and the Governor’s budget plan.
This second week of the legislative session continues the annual ramp-up, with bill filing deadlines still weeks away. From coverage in the Baltimore Sun, the budget (whose details have not been made clear yet) will attract much attention:
Hogan has already announced that he will fully fund all of the state’s educational funding formulas, as law requires. He has also signaled that some of the state’s expected $500 million surplus will go toward cutting taxes. He is required to submit the budget to the legislature by Wednesday.
Apart from that, legislators have many questions about the governor’s plans. Will he fully fund reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers? What will his higher education budget mean for tuition rates? What are the details of his plans for tax relief and what are the implications for future spending?
Hogan has already drawn one line in the sand, insisting he will refuse to spend any money the legislature cuts from his budget and “fences off” for other purposes. His hard-line stance has prompted leading Democrats to threaten to pass mandates that would further lock the governor into future spending.
Several bills from the 2015 session, vetoed by Governor Hogan, sit pending before the General Assembly for potential action – with any schedule of override votes still unclear.