Article Explores Rural Elected Officials Priorities, Perspectives

A piece in the Capital News Service shares some perspectives from rural Maryland on the Governor’s work.

barr hogan
Former MACo President Washington County Commissioner John Barr with the Governor at MACo’s Winter Conference.

As described by the Capital News Service,

Hogan’s surprise election in 2014 happened in part because of an unexpected surge of rural voters. . . And while Hogan has paid more attention to rural Marylanders than his predecessor, some politicians in rural areas say he has struggled to deliver what they want most — more money for infrastructure and less regulation from Annapolis.

Priorities

Rural priorities include returning to shared transportation revenues for local road maintenance and improvements and repealing septic and sprinkler regulations that increase residential development costs.

This General Assembly session, several of these rural priorities evidenced the continued political split in Annapolis. The Administration’s budget proposal to begin an incremental return of highway user revenues was scaled back by the legislature, and no efforts to scale back or offset the sprinkler mandate passed. However, through its executive branch powers, last year the Administration repealed septic regulations affecting new development outside the critical area.

The article gives context to the highway user revenue issue, stating,

Cuts to the state’s highway user funds were made to every county in 2009. For most counties, those funds would never return.

“In 2008, we got $4 million in highway user funds,” said [County Commissioner Bill] Valentine. “The last couple of years, we got $400,000. There are 526 miles of road in Allegany County.”

 

The article explores political dynamics in Annapolis and describes the General Assembly’s role in decisions affecting rural priorities. This discussion includes a chart that shows the amount of state aid provided as compared with the amount of non-federal taxes paid.

Perspective

The article also notes that aside from whether there is progress on rural priorities, rural Maryland elected officials often recount appreciation for the Hogan Administration, stating,

Almost universally in rural areas, local politicians say the Hogan administration has made a priority of being responsive. When asked what the governor has specifically done for them, simply listening is almost always the first thing mentioned.

For more, see In Maryland politics, the war on rural is dead — long live the war on rural? from the Capital News Service.