In the 2024 General Assembly Session, MACo will prioritize fiscal transparency, modernizing local revenue structures, new incentives to bolster firefighter and EMS recruitment and retention, and collaborative solutions for addressing Maryland’s affordable and workforce housing shortage.
This week, the MACo Legislative Committee adopted the Association’s Legislative Initiatives for the 2024 Maryland General Assembly Session. MACo’s Legislative Committee will take positions on hundreds of bills, but these four issues serve as the Association’s priorities for the year.
LAUNCH FORWARD-THINKING FIREFIGHTER AND EMS INCENTIVES
The 2023 Commission to Advance and Strengthen Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Services Within Maryland was enacted to launch a multi-stakeholder effort to develop strategies to revive onboarding in fire service. The Commission, a 2023 MACo Legislative Initiative, has been working tirelessly over the past several months to develop recommendations focusing on education, healthcare, childcare, and revenues, as well as a recommendation to explore further diversity, veteran engagement, and leveraging Governor Moore’s signature service year initiative.
MACo advocates for implementing these timely and necessary changes – likely combining state and local resources, benefits, and educational support for the next generations of Maryland fire service, both career and volunteer.
PROVIDE TRANSPARENCY IN EDUCATION SPENDING
All education stakeholders benefit from a clear understanding of the sources and uses of public school funding. Recently, the opacity of pandemic-driven federal funds and revelations about separately maintained fund balances have heightened these concerns from county governments and other stakeholders alike. The school board budget proposal and routine reporting should grant the county funding entities enough clarity and structure to assess those priorities on behalf of their communities fairly. Maryland law should ensure that decision-makers and stakeholders can connect public funds to the needed investments for educational outcomes.
Reporting and budgeting systems must ensure county decision-makers have access to these tools and information to fulfill their fiduciary duties as funding authorities and partners in school success.
MODERNIZE LOCAL REVENUE STRUCTURES
Maryland’s local governments, including the charter counties with the broadest authority, are hamstrung by outdated state-defined tax systems that fail to reflect the modern economy. By expanding revenue authority, this initiative aims to provide counties with the necessary tools to meet the evolving needs of their communities, stimulate economic growth, and enhance the quality of life for residents.
By modernizing local revenue structures, this initiative promotes local decision-making and empowers counties to be more self-sufficient in addressing unique challenges and opportunities.
ADVANCE COMPREHENSIVE HOUSING SOLUTIONS
Maryland and our nation face multiple persistent challenges with housing affordability. Various factors have conspired to grow this crisis – including external actors in the buyers’ market, interest rates, lack of financing tools, and state/local regulations and permitting.
MACo advocates for a broad-based approach to help Maryland address its housing concerns – providing resources, tools, and guidance to benefit builders, homebuyers, and residential communities.
By its bylaws, MACo must select four legislative initiatives as a focus for each Maryland General Assembly Session. First, the membership submits dozens of issues for consideration as initiatives. MACo’s Initiative Subcommittee members then review, analyze, and discuss these proposals through a months-long process until they narrow the list to four initiatives. Finally, the Initiatives Subcommittee presents the slate to the Legislative Committee for adoption.
For more information, contact MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally.