MD Senate Republicans Announce Caucus Leadership

This week, the Maryland Senate Republican Caucus unanimously re-elected Senator Bryan Simonaire as Minority Leader and elected Senator Justin Ready as Minority Whip. Former Minority Whip Senator Michael Hough recently announced that he would not seek re-election in the Senate as he will be running for Frederick County Executive in 2022. As a result, he also decided not to seek re-election as Minority Whip. According to a statement from the Maryland Senate Republican Caucus: “Re-election…

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September Casino Gaming Revenue Tops $165M

Maryland’s six casinos combined to generate over $165 million in gaming revenue in September, contributing $69 million to the state. According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming, September casino gaming revenues were up $21.7 million (15 percent) compared to September 2020, when gaming revenue was $144 million. Casinos were limited to 50 percent capacity in September 2020 due to COVID-19. Contributions from last month's casino gaming revenue totaled $69 million, including $50.1 million for the Education…

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Treasury Updates ARPA Reporting Requirements

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is extending the deadline for counties to submit the first round of Project and Expenditure reports for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Program provides a substantial infusion of resources to communities working to turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. Counties that receive funding from the…

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Introducing the Maryland Department of Emergency Management

Last week, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency became the Maryland Department of Emergency Management -- a move that will bolster and enhance collaboration, communication, and coordination between the State and county governments in times of crisis. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland General Assembly this year passed SB 658, which established MDEM as a forward-facing, Cabinet-level entity. The bill also transfers the 9-1-1 Board to the Department. MACo supported the bill, as MDEM…

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Feds Narrowly Avert Another Government Shutdown…for Now

With only hours to spare, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, legislation to avoid yet another partial federal government shutdown. The short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, funds government operations through December 3, 2021, but does not raise the debt ceiling, which lawmakers must address separately in the weeks ahead. The House approved the continuing resolution by a 254-175 vote not long after Senate passage in a 65-35 vote. Every year, Congress must…

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Board of Revenue Estimates Approves Nearly $1 Billion Write-Up for FY22

Federal relief funds, higher-than-expected tax revenues drive nearly $1 billion revenue write-up for fiscal 2022. The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates today voted to dramatically increase the revenue projections for fiscal 2022 by 5 percent to $21.1 billion, representing a $995 million increase from the March estimates. Additionally, the Board -- which includes Comptroller Peter Franchot, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Budget Secretary David Brinkley -- set the first official revenue forecast for fiscal 2023 at…

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Baltimore County Work Group Proposes Framework for Fair Election Fund

The Baltimore County Fair Election Fund Work Group's final report proposes a framework for the County's first public financing system for candidates for local offices. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Baltimore County voters in 2020 approved a Charter Amendment to make public funds available to County Executive and County Council candidates. Establishing a Fair Election Fund is a key priority for County Executive Johnny Olszewski, who called for a public financing option for local elections before…

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Cecil Refinances Debt, Saves Millions

County Executive Danielle Hornberger this week announced that Cecil County successfully refinanced approximately $115 million in bonds at significantly lower interest rates, saving taxpayers up to $28.5 million in debt service payments. According to a County press release: The County’s General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds’ interest rate was reduced from 3.47% to 2.03% and the County’s General Obligation Consolidated Refunding Bonds’ interest rate was reduced from 3.47% to 2.11%. “I am happy to announce that…

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State Closes FY21 with $2.5B Fund Balance

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that the State of Maryland closed its books on fiscal 2021 with an unassigned balance of the State’s General Fund of $2.5 billion, representing more than five percent of its $48 billion operating budget for fiscal 2021. The massive fund balance results from much larger-than-expected revenue growth, primarily driven by an influx of federal stimulus funding, as well as a significant uptick in personal and business income and consumer…

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