MACo to State: Help Close the Digital Divide, Dig Once is Common Sense

On March 4, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the House Economic Matters Committee to support HB 1328 -  Economic Development - Broadband Providers - Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021). This bill is a MACo initiative, helping to close the digital divide in Maryland by enhancing incentives and creating opportunities to build out broadband across the State. From the MACo Testimony: This bill would help to close Maryland’s persistent…

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Harford Announces Partnership for Rural Broadband

Harford County yesterday announced a partnership with ThinkBig Networks, a private sector internet service provider, to bring broadband service to the County’s rural northern region over the next several years. The project timeline will depend on infrastructure construction and grant funding, which both parties are aggressively pursuing. This public/private partnership aims to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service to the most unserved and underserved areas of the County. Approximately 2,500 homes in northern Harford County…

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MACo Urges County Input on Broad Tax Relief

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally yesterday submitted testimony to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in opposition to SB 870 Income Tax - Subtraction Modification - COVID-19 - Related Distribution of Retirement Income. This emergency bill creates a subtraction modification against the State and local income tax for an individual who makes a qualified COVID-19 related distribution from a retirement account. According to the bill's fiscal note, local revenues will decrease by $70.2 million in…

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Counties Back Emergency Property Tax Relief

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson yesterday testified in support of SB 887 Property Tax Credit - Business Entities - State of Emergency before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. This bill enables local governments to grant property tax credits for businesses affected by a state of emergency. From the MACo Testimony: The swift and unprecedented shock of the COVID-19 public health crisis has wreaked havoc on the economy. As the focus shifts to restoring our state…

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MACo to State: Grant Child Care Exemption for County Programs

On March 3rd, 2021 MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the House Ways and Means Committee to support HB 1307 Education - Child Care Centers and Youth Development Organizations and Programs (Support Youth Development for School-Age Children Act). This bill exempts certain youth development organizations and programs from current regulations in order to provide out-of-school services as the COVID-19 pandemic endures. From the MACo Testimony: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact families in…

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MACo: Don’t Divert County Funds to Nonpublic Schools

On March 3, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee in opposition to HB 1056 - Nonpublic Schools - Adequate Health Services - Eligibility for Reimbursement. This bill requires county governments to reimburse up to 50% of the costs that nonpublic schools incur providing adequate health services. From the MACo Testimony: This bill would extend those responsibilities, unfairly diverting local government funding to reimburse up to 50% of the costs…

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Counties Request Local Flexibility for Property Tax Credits

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified in opposition to HB 1175 Property Tax Credit for Disabled Veterans before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would mandate that counties grant, by law, a prescriptive property tax credit for specified disabled veterans and surviving spouses. According to the bill's fiscal note, local property tax revenues could decrease by approximately $43.2 million annually beginning in fiscal 2022. MACo is concerned with the carryover county fiscal…

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Extra Sick Leave Hurts Government Response To COVID-19

On March 2, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Economic Matters Committee in opposition to HB 1326 - Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Revisions and Public Health Emergency Leave. This bill would place significant costs on local jurisdictions as a result of paying for additional leave required during a public health emergency. From the MACo Testimony: Under state law, counties would have no choice but to fund these mandated changes to the…

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Counties Request Flexibility for Unemployment Insurance Payments During COVID-19

On March 2, 2021 MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee to support SB 790 - Unemployment Insurance - Reimbursing Employers Deferral of Payment During a State of Emergency for COVID-19. This bill would provides a tool for county governments, as reimbursable employers, to delay their remittances by a year during a COVID-19 state of emergency. From the MACo Testimony: Under current law, a nonprofit organization or governmental entity is…

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Workers Compensation Claims for COVID-19 Costly for Counties

On March 2, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Economic Matters Committee in opposition to both HB 1199 - Workers' Compensation - Occupational Disease Presumptions - COVID-19 and HB 1247 - Workers' Compensation - Occupational Disease Presumptions - COVID-19. These bills would dramatically expand the scope of presumption for workers’ compensation claims, therefore placing significant costs on local jurisdictions. From the MACo testimony on HB 1199: HB 1199 would add COVID-19 as a…

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