The Big Build Schools Bill Is (Almost) Here

Legislation based on the recommendations of the 21st School Facilities Commission will be introduced in the General Assembly on March 1. A summary, but not the text of the bill, is available as of this writing. UPDATE: The text of the bill is now available. The Knott Commission legislation that many have been awaiting is almost here. HB1783 21st Century School Facilities Act, sponsored by Delegate Jones, Chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee of the…

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Insurance Expansion Opens Community Access to Local Health Departments

Senate Bill 858 expands requires insurance carriers to offer contracts to local health departments (LHDs) for the delivery of certain health care treatment services. This would greatly expand access to community members to the array of direct services and resources that local health departments provide. Many rural areas of the state rely on local health departments to provide a significant amount of services, particularly focusing on mental and behavioral health. LHDs can choose to be…

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Act Now, Save Later: Maintenance at Our Community Colleges

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support of Senate Bill 595, “Community Colleges – Facilities Renewal Grant Program – Established”, before the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 28, 2018. The bill establishes a grant program that would provide for needed improvements, repairs, and maintenance at community colleges. Counties currently are a part of a state-local cost formula that allows both parties to contribute to the funding responsibility. This investment could promote long-term cost savings…

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Counties Should Recoup Costs From Cemetery Upkeep

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in support with an amendment of House Bill 877, "Burial Sites – Access, Disinterment, Criminal Penalties, and Tax Credit", before the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 28, 2018. HB 877 provides local governments with a way to recover the costs of repair or maintenance work performed by local governments in preserving and maintaining blighted or abandoned cemeteries. The county must notify the owner of the property,…

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Legislative Analysts: Shifting SDAT Costs To Counties Unwise

At today's hearing on SB 187, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2018 ("BRFA"), Department of Legislative Services (DLS) analysts recommended striking the provision which would shift 90 percent of costs for certain State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) functions onto the counties - concurring with MACo's suggested amendment to delete this provision from the BRFA. As introduced, the bill would shift nearly all costs for SDAT's property assessment, information technology and Office…

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Renew and Refresh Commitment to Community Colleges

Legislation to require the State to fully fund community colleges under the Cade formula  would increase the State share of per-pupil funding to 29% of that appropriated to 4-year public institutions of higher education in the State. MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support of Senate Bill 596 before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on February 28, 2018. The increases in state aid to community colleges would continue gradually through 2022 in this…

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Tax Credits Are an Alternative to Depletion of Community Resources

MACo Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, delivered written testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 650, “Income Tax Subtraction Modification – College Savings Plan Accounts – Contributions (College Savings Tax Enhancement Act)” to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on February 28, 2018. Counties are concerned with the effects that further subtraction modifications would have in a time when the effects of federal tax reform on the state are still unclear and what the crossover fiscal effects to…

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Avoiding Tax Sale Good for Everyone

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support of House Bill 1465, "Tax Sales – Homeowner Protections", before the House Ways and Means Committee on February 27, 2018. This bill allows counties to withhold properties from tax sale that have less than $750 in fees and taxes due on the property. This would be an increase in that figure from $250 for most jurisdictions. Tax sale is an effective last resort to collect overdue bills,…

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Fix the Glitch: Disperse Recordation Tax Revenue to All Counties

When counties received the authority to shift the collection of recordation taxes to their county finance officers, several counties made the shift. It appears that during that time, a flaw in the system resulted in the five affected counties failing to receive their shares of State-collected recordation taxes. While the error was corrected after FY 2015, the taxes collected during a five year time period from FY 2010 to FY 2015 had been completely dispersed…

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Counties Cannot Completely Shoulder New Election Audits

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in opposition to House Bill 767, "Election Law - Securing Elections From Foreign Interference", before the House Ways and Means Committee on February 27, 2018. This bill would require local Boards of Election to absorb a significant tactical and fiscal burden by requiring additional auditing of random samples of ballots and mandating that election infrastructure and equipment be updated at least once every ten years. These changes would require…

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