Budget Conferees Reach Compromise on Spending Plan

Budget conferees on Monday put the finishing touches on a $46.6 billion dollar budget proposal, reconciling several differences between the House and Senate budget proposals. The conference committee’s report now goes to the General Assembly for final approval.

The proposed budget achieves the Spending Affordability Committee’s (SAC) dual goal of leaving a fund balance of at least $100 million and eliminating the structural shortfall in fiscal 2020. The conference committee’s actions leave a fund balance of $118.2 million and produce a $26 million structural surplus for fiscal 2020.

Education Funding

Budget negotiators settled on $255 million to begin implementing the recommendations of the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education and identified $355.3 million for education initiatives in FY 2021. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Senate plan allocates $225 million in FY 2020, far less than the $320 million the House approved in its budget plan.

Coupled with planned actions in the capital budget bill, the legislative plan dedicates $500 million to school construction, $62 million more than was allocated in the Governor’s original budget proposal.

Disparity Grant Funding

The budget fully funds the Governor’s formula-driven allocation of $146,172,853 for the Disparity Grant Program. As previously reported on Conduit Street, disparity grant funding is set to increase for Baltimore City, along with Caroline, Cecil, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington, and Wicomico counties.

A Legislative “Veto” On Counties’ Transportation Priorities?

As previously reported on Conduit Street, in the Senate amendments to the broad Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act, HB 1407, new language was added and approved by the Senate to change the requirements for identifying a local priority project. Under the proposed language, when a county submits a “local priority letter” to the Department of Transportation, identifying a project as a local priority, a majority of the county’s legislative delegations (both House and Senate) must support the project.

The conference committee struck the Senate proposal and instead added language to require that all members of a county’s legislative delegation receive notification when a county submits a “local priority letter” to the Department of Transportation.

State Aid to Local Governments

Overall, the budget plan increases state aid to local governments by $556.4 million (6.4%), most of which is in the form of state aid to education/libraries, which increases by $498.6 million (6.6%).

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Conference Committee Budget Documents

Conference Committee Summary Report on House Bill 100 – the Budget Bill and House Bill 1407 – the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act

Report of the Conference Committee on House Bill 100 The Budget Bill

House Budget Documents

House Appropriations Committee Report on HB 100 – the Budget Bill and HB 1407 – the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (“BRFA”)

2019 – House Appropriations Committee Reprint of HB 100 – (Budget Bill FY2020)

2019 – House Appropriations Committee Reprint of HB 1407 – Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2019 (“BRFA”)

Senate Budget Documents

Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Report on House Bill 100 – the Budget Bill House Bill 1407– the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (“BRFA)

2019 – Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Reprint of HB 100 – (Budget Bill FY2020)

2019 –Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Reprint of HB 1407 – Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2019 (“BRFA”)

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Dueling Budgets: Senate Plan Reels In Kirwan Spending

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: A Legislative “Veto” On Counties’ Transportation Priorities?

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: House Budget Proposal Keeps Disparity Grant Funding Intact

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan 2020 Budget Proposal: Targeted New Commitments, No Local Shifts

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