Evolving House Blueprint Bill – Some County Fiscal Relief

The fast-moving Kirwan Blueprint bill, HB 1300, has gathered a series of initial amendments – which include two major changes offering county funding relief.

HB 1300, the Kirwan Blueprint bill, received its public hearing on February 17, and in the last several days has sprung to life, with House action appearing imminent. The House’s two committees with joint jurisdiction of the bill – Appropriations and Ways & Means – reviewed a set of “leadership” amendments culled from many submitted by stakeholders, and now appear ready to advance the bill.

Among a lengthy list of bill amendments are two items that affect county funding, in both cases seeking to limit the funding obligation left for county governments to absorb through the multi-year phase-in of the plan.

2MAR2020-HouseKirwanReliefByCounty

The table above was used at a March 2 meeting to illustrate the combined effect of the three alterations being considered. They are, in short:

-An “effort adjustment” limiting the county obligation obligated to counties whose overall education effort (by a currently existing metric, the same used to today’s MOE “escalator” clause, but based on the projected required county funding under the phased-in bill) is greater than the state average.

-A “GTB adjustment” allowing counties receiving Guaranteed Tax Base funding (boosting the yield of local spending effort, to adjust for a lower tax base) to recognize that as local funding, for the purposes of reaching their funding obligation

-A “floor correction” ensuring that the effect of state funding floors in several jurisdictions are not inadvertently “double counted” as both a state and county funding obligation.

The combined effect of these changes are shown in the table above as “relief” — meaning the dollar amounts shown are the projected reduction in the county’s required funding in each of the phase-in years, through FY 2030.

The two House subcommittees may vote on the set of amendments and the bill as soon as Tuesday evening. Conduit Street will continue to cover the progress of the session’s most-watched legislation.

Edit: the two House subcommittees approved the amended version of HB 1300, on a clean party-line vote, after a brief discussion on Tuesday, March 3. The bill will likely be scheduled for a vote in the two full committees tomorrow.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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