2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of finance and procurement policy in the 2018 General Assembly. 

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.

More Jobs for Marylanders

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported legislation that expands access to State economic development benefits under the More Jobs for Marylanders Program to geographical areas sharing a zip code with areas that currently qualify. Senate Bill 1104 and House Bill 1594 both offer a reasonable recognition that a “distressed area” may not strictly be confined within political boundaries, and creates some flexibility in targeting them in distressed areas spilling across county lines. HB1594 passed through the House, but did not advance beyond that. SB1104 did not move after being recommitted to the Senate Finance Committee. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Procurement Contracts

Push Icons-MORE WORKHouse Bill 62 would require bidders and offerors for state and local contracts to provide specified information on the mean and median wages of its male and female employees when responding to a state or local procurement. Counties appreciate the intent to expose any gender wage gaps that exist among vendors receiving public dollars. However, there were a significant number of concerns in the vague language of the bill that could have unintended consequences for county procurement efforts. The bill did not advance out of committee. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Push Icons-DEFEATEDMACo submitted amendments to maintain county autonomy in the payment security process for contracts with county and local entities. Senate Bill 778 would mandate all public bodies, including the State and county governments, to require certain contractors on construction contracts exceeding $100,000 to provide payment security in the amount of 100 percent of the total amount of the construction contract. Counties expressed concerns that this may increase costs for jurisdictions that do not currently require that threshold. The concerns were put to rest when the Senate Education and Health and Environmental Affairs Committee gave the bill an unfavorable report. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Push Icons-MORE WORKSenate Bill 1155 establishes a process and timeline for the payment of retention proceeds in excess of the estimated cost of completing the work remaining on a project after an owner takes possession of a project or otherwise puts a project into use. MACo had concerns with some aspects of the bill. However, the hearing for the bill was canceled, and it did not advance out of committee. Bill Information

Push Icons-DEFEATEDMACo opposed a bill that broadly requires “an entity … that receives State aid,” including counties, to “advertise using a range of media sources with target audiences that reflect the racial diversity of the State.” While the bill is noble with its intent, this bill was too broad to implement effectively without exposing innumerable county procurements to countless bid protests. Upon notice of MACo’s concerns, the sponsor withdrew the bill. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Interest Payments on Tax Collection Errors

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported legislation that would require the Comptroller to pay interest on tax refund claims after a 45-day grace period, unless the refund is owed due to an error or mistake of the State, in which case the Comptroller must pay interest from the date of the overpayment. An amendment was submitted by county governments to clarify that the State, which administers income taxes, bears responsibility for the errors and therefore should cover the costs. However, the bill did not advance past the initial hearing in the Senate. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Funding Priorities in the State Budget Workgroup

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported a bill to establish a workgroup to examine prioritization systems that could apply to the State’s budgeting process. The workgroup is made up of and staffed by representatives from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Comptroller’s Office, and the Department of Legislative Services (DLS). MACo offered an amendment to add county representation on the workgroup. The bill did not advance out of committee. Bill Information 

Mandating County Participation in State Health Plans

Push Icons-DEFEATEDMACo opposed legislation that would have required all counties to participate in the State’s health care plan. Requiring counties to simply use the State’s health care plan removes their ability to procure health care benefits for their unique employee groups at the best value available. For some counties, opting into the State’s health care plan could be the best option. However, this mandate removes local authority to purchase plans that make sense to them, in the appropriate purchasing pools that provide the best value. The Senate version of the bill passed the Senate after being heavily amended to alleviate MACo’s concerns, and the bill in the House was withdrawn by the sponsor. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

For more information on finance and procurement-related legislation tracked by MACo during the 2018 legislative session, click here.