In addition to weekly updates on happenings in Maryland’s counties and an ever-shifting set of policy areas, during the break from the legislative session, MACo’s blog regularly features several deep-dive research series on topics of perennial importance to county governments.
Over the years, the contributors to MACo’s blog have assembled the following series. Whether you are catching up on your reading this summer, or simply need something to help you fall asleep at night, you might find a series here for you. There is something for everyone.
For the structure-of-government junkie
This blog series from 2011 outlines the significant role of Maryland’s health departments, and describes the expanding pressures placed on these agencies through health care reform and the economic downturn. The final piece of this series will draw final conclusions on the vital role of health departments and raise specific issues to be addressed to ensure our health departments can meet growing citizen demands. Note that this series was written before the opioid crisis was grabbing national headlines, and while some progress has been made, advocating for local health department funding is still among MACo’s top priorities each year.
For the investor
This 2012 series was written in the wake of the State’s shift of some of the costs of the teacher pension system to county governments. The series describes the System’s governance, the financial health of the System and pension investment strategies. In the last installment, MACo shared insight into potential legislative actions – actions which were ultimately undertaken and lead to the creation of a new county seat on the Maryland State Pension System Board of Trustees.
For the mom or dad
The Kirwan Commission is taking one more year to finish formulas. There’s a lot at stake. In this series, Executive Director Michael Sanderson reviews how education funding works today, setting up an ongoing analysis of the issues the Commission will be dealing with in 2019, preparing its final proposals. Sanderson breaks down the wealth formula that is used to determine state funding distributions and discusses targeted funding programs for areas with high costs of living and how those programs may change based on the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations.
For the lawyer or academic
State preemption of local laws, in particular those laws seeking to advance health, environment, and community preservation aims, is a national issue. This article is the first in a series exploring local government powers, their preemption, and implications for Maryland.