Maryland Sheds Jobs, But Unemployment Rate Stable

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor shows Maryland with a month-over-month loss of 1,200 jobs. The state's overall unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8%. Maryland has gained some 15,000 jobs over one year ago - so the short term downturn may not reflect a larger overall trend. However, most government revenues are substantially economy-dependent. The state personal income tax and sales tax are by far…

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School Funding Formula Workgroup Charts Path Forward

The Funding Formula Workgroup of the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education today held its first meeting in Annapolis. The thirteen-member panel is charged with working through what is perhaps the most challenging portion of The Blueprint for Maryland's Future - a ten-year plan to make Maryland schools more competitive both nationally and globally - the development of a plan to finance, realign, and apportion the costs of these ambitious, but expensive, goals.…

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How Nice Should Your Kid’s School Be? Maryland’s Workgroup Reports Back.

A workgroup established by the General Assembly's 21st Century School Facilities Act releases findings and recommendations on educational specifications. Every local school system seeks the best public facilities for K-12 educational programs. Educational specifications, or "Ed Specs" as they are commonly called, provide guidance on standards for educational facilities statewide. Updates to these standards were the focus of a work group created by the General Assembly in the 21st Century School Facilities Act, passed in…

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Anne Arundel Council Approves 2020 Budget

The Anne Arundel County Council on Friday adopted a Fiscal Year 2020 budget that closely mirrors the budget proposed by County Executive Steuart Pittman on May 1. The $1.7 billion operating budget includes increased funding to address critical needs in education, public safety, infrastructure, and environmental enforcement. The FY 20 income tax rate is 2.81% (up from 2.5%) and the FY 20 property tax rate is 93.5 cents per $100 assessed value (up from 90.2…

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Queen Anne’s Passes Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit

The Queen Anne's County Commissioners this week approved a property tax credit for eligible volunteer firefighters. In order to be eligible for the credit, which will be phased in over five years, fire company volunteers must have maintained active service status for three consecutive years and be a resident property owner of the County. “As a commission, we work together well and keep the future of the county as a priority,” said Commissioner Jack Wilson.…

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Outcome Budgeting, Inspector General Combine to Deliver Data During City Budget Hearings

During Baltimore City Council Budget Hearings, the City's Inspector General (and the city's own predilection for outcome budgeting) powered a thorough evaluation of program outcomes by Council Members during their public hearing. The Inspector General role, created in 2005 but re-addressed my more recent local actions, has helped to re-frame the public deliberations of the Baltimore City Council. From the OIG website: The Mission of the Office of the Inspector General is to promote accountability,…

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Baltimore County Unveils Open Budget Platform

New Platform Brings Unprecedented Transparency to the Baltimore County Budget. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today unveiled a new open budget platform where residents can view detailed information about the County’s budget, bringing a new level of transparency to how the County spends taxpayer dollars. According to a press release: “An open, transparent government is an accountable government. We can better serve the residents of Baltimore County by ensuring they have access to information about where…

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Presiding Officers Name School Funding Formula Workgroup

Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Adrienne Jones yesterday named thirteen members to a workgroup that will make recommendations on the pattern and role of state and local funding to the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education later this year. MACo President and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman will represent MACo on the panel. The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should…

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