Senate Committee Rejects SDAT Cost Shift, Maintains Local Health Funding

During its operating budget decision meeting on March 8, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee rejected two proposals in SB 187, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2018 (“BRFA”) that would have compromised county finances. The full Senate is expected to take up these budget decisions early next week.

As introduced, the BRFA would have shifted 90 percent of costs for certain State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) functions onto the counties. The bill proposes shifting nearly all costs for SDAT’s property assessment, information technology and Office of the Director costs. Currently, counties fund 50 percent of assessment and information technology functions. The cost shift would have placed an additional $20 million on the backs of county budgets.

The Department of Legislative Services recommended against the proposal, insinuating it was unwise.

In addition, the BRFA proposed level funding the core public health funding to local health departments. However, the Committee voted to “leave the door open” on increasing this funding according to the inflation-based formula – providing an additional $890,793 to local health departments.

On March 6, the Senate Budget and Taxation Health and Human Services Subcommittee voted these actions, and the full committee approved them two days later. The House will take actions on these items, with final determinations made by the Conference Committee, which will be appointed by both chambers.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties