MACo Fiscal 2019 Budget, Tax Rates and Selected Statistics Now Available

The annual publication,  Budgets, Tax Rates, and Selected Statistics, Fiscal Year 2019, is now available on the MACo web site.  The Budget and Tax Rate Survey (BTRS) contains a wide range of information on county taxes, tax rates, and revenues. Each major area of revenue is detailed in its own section within this document. The data are assembled from survey responses from the finance and budget offices of each Maryland county and Baltimore City and…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Weekly Annapolis Roundup, Prickly Projects, Personal Privilege, and Public Polling

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast. You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website. Useful Links Listen to Senate President Mike Miller's Remarks to the Senate (February 21, 2019)

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Opportunity Zones – Big Tool, Big Questions?

Federal tax reforms from late 2017 created an "Opportunity Zone" program - will these incentives be the key to revitalizing underdeveloped areas? The recent creation of federal Opportunity Zones called for selection of targeted census tracts for development incentives. As Maryland and other states have implemented their selection, the process of refining the processes for engaging new employers and activity within their bounds. See the map of currently approved Opportunity Zones. See Conduit Street coverage…

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Counties Encourage Statewide Opioid Needs Assessment

On February 20th, MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted testimony in support of SB 506 Maryland Department of Health - Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services - Needs Assessment Study. This bill would work to advance important and necessary assessments in behavioral health that are needed across the state of Maryland. From the MACo Testimony: SB 506 requires MDH to perform a comprehensive statewide study to determine the existing capacity and estimated unmet needs for…

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Counties Stand Against Reduction in Local Revenues

On Wednesday, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony in opposition of SB 88 Student Debt Relief Act of 2019. From the MACo Testimony: Counties are eager and committed partners in promoting economic growth and creating opportunity – we prefer local autonomy in determining the best way locally. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) opposes state-mandated reductions in local revenue sources, but welcomes tools to grant county options and flexibility to pursue their own parallel tax incentives,…

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Counties Support Legislation to Create Workforce Readiness Grant Program

On February 20th, Michael Sanderson submitted written testimony to the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 515 Community Colleges - Workforce Readiness Grant Program - Established. According to the testimony, this bill would enhance the State’s commitment to workforce development offerings at each community college campus and create an incentive for outside private funding to extend the program’s effect. From the MACo Testimony: The two iterations of funding under the bill ensure…

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MACo Opposes State-Mandated Subtraction Modification Legislation

On Wednesday, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony to the Ways & Means Committee in opposition of HB 537 Income Tax - Subtraction Modification for Veterans and to the Budget & Taxation Committee in opposition to SB 409 Income Tax - Subtraction Modification - Employee-Owned Businesses. From the MACo Testimony: Counties are eager and committed partners in promoting economic growth and creating opportunity – we prefer local autonomy in determining the best way locally. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo)…

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Counties Concerned with Constitutional Amendment Proposed on Environmental Rights

On Wednesday, Les Knapp testified in front of the Environment and Transportation in opposition of HB 472 Constitutional Amendment - Environmental Rights. HB 472 would create a new constitutional right that is vaguely defined within the bill as well as an expansive new class of litigants with broad standing rights to litigate or intervene. From the MACo Testimony: This language is both vague and overbroad. It could be argued that many basic services provided by a local…

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Counties Seek Representation on Storm Drain Debris Task Force

On February 20th, Les Knapp testified in support of HB 410 Task Force on Prohibiting Debris From Entering Storm Drains or Stormwater Inlets with amendments. While HB 410 would work to study the important issue of debris entering storm drains, the bill lacks county government representation on the task force. From the MACo Testimony: MACo has no issue with the Task Force’s charge but notes that the Task Force’s findings and recommendations could have a significant…

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Sun Editorial: Big School Funding Challenges, Counties Are “Tapped Out”

The Baltimore Sun editorial board lays out a comprehensive look at the current school funding dilemma -- advocates thirst for large new investments, but resources are strained already, even before the lofty goals from Kirwan Commission. With the Kirwan Commission report now in circulation, legislation pending, and onlookers still awaiting details... school funding remains a hot topic, albeit one temporarily on hold. Enter the Baltimore Sun, with a well-timed look at the political dynamics underlying…

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