Tax Credits an Alternative to Depleting County Coffers

MACo submitted written testimony in opposition to House Bill 296, "Income Tax - Subtraction Modification – Retirement Income of Correctional Officers", to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 28, 2018. This legislation is among a number of subtraction modification bills that would mandate reductions in local revenue by reducing an eligible individual's taxable income. Due to the clear fiscal impact that these modifications would have on local governments and their ability to provide…

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Broadband Access Brings Rural Areas of the State Online

MACo submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 961, "Department of Housing and Community Development – Rural Broadband Service – Inventory and Mapping of Assets", to the Senate Finance Committeee on March 28, 2018. The bill includes rural and underserved areas in a statewide inventory of assets. This map would begin the steps to ensuring that broadband is available in every part of the state, but would be particularly important in rural areas that…

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Legislation Corrects a Gap in Tax Law

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 925, "Property Tax - Liability for Payment of Tax on Leased Property", to the House Ways and Means Committee on March 27, 2018. This bill allows for the attachment of tax liens in very specialized circumstances where the government leases property for private development, and tax increment financing (TIF) bonds or special taxing districts are used to finance that development. MACo supports this bill because it…

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Funding for Behavioral Health Services is Overdue

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 703, "Behavioral Health Crisis Response Grant Program - Establishment", to the House Health and Government Operations and Appropriations Committee on March 27, 2018. The proposed program allows local behavioral health authorities to apply for a competitive grant to expand or establish crisis response programs. Local jurisdictions would be afforded more funds to meet the behavioral health needs of the community through mobile crisis teams, on-demand walk-in services,…

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Staving Off Tax Sale Keeps Options Open

House Bill 1465 allows counties to withhold properties from tax sale that have less than $750 in fees and taxes due on the property. This would be an increase in that figure from $250 for most jurisdictions. Tax sale is an effective last resort to collect overdue bills, but it is also a lengthy and arduous process for all involved. Counties have a vested interest in seeking to maintain continuity with properties that they often…

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Tidying Up Tax Credits: Counties Usually Administer Their Own

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support of House Bill 89, "Property Tax Credit – Public Safety Officers - Administration", before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 27, 2018. The bill shifts administrative responsibilities from the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) to the counties. Counties usually handle the administration of property tax credits that they are responsible for offering. This legislation simply places the administrative nature of this tax credit…

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Violence Prevention Grant Funding is on the Move

House Bill 432 established a violence prevention advisory fund and grant program. The establishment of this fund and advisory council will significantly aid local governments, county health officers, and their partners, in their violence prevention efforts. This bill creates a $5 million fund to support evidence-based, public health-centered attempts to develop community-based anti-violence strategies. MACo submitted written testimony in support of HB 432 to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 27, 2018. The…

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Senate Bill Allows More Wiggle Room For Giving Businesses a Boost

Senate Bill 67 provides the Department of Commerce more flexibility in providing economic development assistance to local governments and businesses. It renames the economic development assistance fund as the, "Advantage Maryland Fund Authority and Advantage Maryland Fund." Along with the name change, the legislation allows for more grant and loan funding for enterprises that seek to expand employment in the State. The bill is now being considered in the House, and has already passed the Senate…

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Counties Welcome Assistance in Maintaining Burial Sites

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support with amendments of Senate Bill 1242, "Burial Sites – Access, Disinterment, Criminal Penalties, and Tax Credit", before the Senate Finance Committee on March 22, 2018. The bill generally provides local governments with assistance in preserving blighted cemeteries. It also allows the local authorities to recoup costs from the owner of the property for any maintenance work done on the burial site property. Additionally, it authorizes a county…

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Internship Incentives Promote Economic Development

House Bill 527 enables counties to participate in the Maryland Technology Internship program. HB 527 would authorize local governments to participate in the program in the same way as technology-based businesses. The Maryland Technology Internship Program connects college students and recent graduates with small innovative businesses in the technology sector through internships. The Program incentivizes businesses to participate by offering a stipend of up to 50% for each paid intern. MACo submitted written testimony in support…

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