Governor: “No Plans” To Take Homes for I-270

Governor Larry Hogan has assured protestors and concerned citizens that his plans to improve traffic conditions along I-270 and the Beltway will not result in any eminent domain affecting residents' homes. WTOP reports: At a news conference in Annapolis on Tuesday, the governor repeated what he told a group of concerned citizens at a Labor Day parade in Kensington: “The state has no plans that show anybody’s houses being taken,” he said. Maryland's State Highway…

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County Income Tax Distributions Down Nearly 50%

The Comptroller's Office has released its August local income tax distributions - which have decreased from last year by 47.7 percent. This is primarily because the number of relevant pay periods for significant withholders has differed in previous years, says Pharita (Jan) Akbhavasut of the Revenue Administration Division - indicating that this decrease is, effectually, "artificial." From her email: The August local income tax distribution for counties totals $54.7 million, a decrease of 47.7%.  This distribution includes…

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State Enjoys $339M Windfall, Leaders Advised to Save

Attendees at the MACo Summer Conference session, Navigating Murky Waters: Predicting Unpredictable Revenue Streams heard the State's top revenue estimator Andrew Schaufele discuss how difficult estimating revenues has become - and how much of that has to do with the top 1 percent having most of the money, and earning much of it through capital gains. This week, the State announced that as it closes out fiscal 2018, it has received 2 percent in revenues above estimates…

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IRS: A SALT Payment’s Still a SALT Payment

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed regulations for implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - and they specifically target state attempts to reclassify state and local tax (SALT) payments as charitable contributions. Tax reform capped the amount of SALT deductions taxpayers can take to $10,000 - a move of particular import in States like Maryland. Some states have considered workarounds which allow taxpayers to classify payments for state and local government services as…

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Maryland’s Water Wealth Overwhelms at #MACoCon

Maryland’s cup runneth over with water-related riches. At the MACo Summer Conference general session, “The Wealth in our Water,” attendees learned about how Maryland’s waterfront keeps our economy flowing – from tiny oysters to supersized ships. Dominic Scurti, Manager, Market Planning, Maryland Port Administration demonstrated how port activities ranging from cruises to dredging stimulate all of Maryland's counties' local economies. Marylanders from Baltimore City to Somerset and Garrett counties from freight carried in and out…

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#MACoCon Sheds Light on “Dark” Data

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. - Sherlock Holmes "Big data” receives a lot of attention among policy wonks and elected officials for its power to make government operations more efficient. While big data and analytics play an increasingly important role in developing strategies and informing decision making in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors,…

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Counties Chart the Next Course for Saving the Bay at #MACoCon

On Thursday, August 16 at 1 pm, many MACo Summer Conference attendees got updated on the future of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and what it means for county governments at the session, Charting the Next Course for the Bay TMDL. The journey of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is entering its third and final phase for reaching water pollution reduction goals for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment by 2025.…

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Troubled Waters? Talented Attorneys Talk Water Law at #MACoCon

Maryland counties are rich with water, both in terms of waterfront access and in sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure. Counties benefit from this — but along with these assets come great responsibilities and risks. At the MACo Summer Conference session, Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water: Know Your Water Law, attendees learned about how conflicts that arise over responsibilities for water-related assets cannot often be shrugged off as “water under the bridge,” but require proactive planning…

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#MACoCon Shows When Water + Power Works Out

Maryland’s rich water wealth helps drive our renewable energy advancements – both by providing resources necessary for offshore wind, and also by providing an opportunity to use energy generation to keep that water clean. MACo Summer Conference attendees plugged into the latest in offshore wind and animal waste-to-energy at the session, Earth, Wind, Fire, WATER: Powering Your County’s Future, on Thursday, August 16, 2018, from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Over the past three years, the State of Maryland…

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Revenue Forecasters Share Tricks to Their Trade at #MACoCon

County revenues generally come from property and income taxes – but how much should an administrator, elected official or budget officer expect to receive each year? This question has become increasingly difficult as counties still recover from the Great Recession, tax reform leads to uncertainty, and growth trends shift with an aging population and changing income sources. Even the State has modified its revenue projection processes, accounting for increased volatility. What’s a county to do? .MACo…

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