Bill to Strengthen Disparity Grant Program Moving in House

A bill to extend enhanced disparity grant funding for counties with proven local income tax effort is moving in the House of Delegates. Disparity grant funding provides much-needed revenues to counties with limited revenue generation potential to help fund necessary services such as public safety, schools, infrastructure, and community services. MACo supports HB 737, which would extend enhanced state funding provided under the disparity grant program to jurisdictions with a local income tax rate of…

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MACo Opposes Hiring Limitations for Jail Procurement Processes

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on March 10, 2020 before the House Health & Government Operations Committee to oppose HB 1524 (CF SB 858) – Procurement and Correctional Facilities –  Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. Although well-intentioned, the bill places concerning and complicated requirements on the local jail procurement process that may hamper rather than help the process for employing formerly incarcerated individuals. MACo also submitted testimony last month to oppose the…

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MACo: Cutting Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Payments Hurts Local Economies

On March 5, 2020, MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally submitted testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee in opposition to HB 1117 - Economic Development - Enterprise Zone Program - Alterations. This bill would limit the amount that the State must reimburse local governments for property tax credits issued under the Enterprise Zone tax credit program. From the MACo Testimony: The Enterprise Zone program helps incentivize businesses to locate or expand into several low-income or…

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Baltimore City Considering Funding Public Campaign Financing with Energy Tax Revenue

Baltimore City will consider legislation that would mandate money from the City's energy tax be set aside for the Fair Election Fund that supports public financing for candidates. The bill introduced by Councilman Kristerfer Burnett would require $2.5 million from the energy tax go directly to public campaign financing. The City's energy tax, which is based on the number of units of energy delivered to users, was projected to bring in $41,208,800 in fiscal year…

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Senate Committee Rejects SDAT Cost Shift, Restores Funding for Community Colleges and Local Roads

During its operating budget decision meeting on March 5th, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee rejected three proposals in SB 187, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2020 (“BRFA”) that would have compromised county finances. The full Senate is expected to take up these budget decisions early next week. As introduced, the BRFA would have increased counties’ reimbursement of SDAT functions, including costs of real property valuation, business personal property valuation, and information technology.…

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Counties Oppose State Mandated Synthetic Turf Restrictions

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified with a panel of county Parks & Recreations representatives before the House Appropriations Committee to oppose HB 1098 - Use of Public Funds – Playground and Athletic Field Surfaces – Authorizations, Preferences, and Prohibitions (Safe and Healthy Fields Act). This bill would impose an unnecessary restriction on the use of state funds, including Program Open Space (POS) monies, for the installation of synthetic or artificial turf playing fields and…

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Counties Support Bill to Clarify Eligibility for Local Option Tax Credit

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally submitted testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 1200 - Property Tax - Credit to Offset Increases in Local Income Tax Revenues - Eligibility. This bill alters the eligibility criteria for a property tax credit that local governments are authorized to provide homeowners in order to offset increases in local income tax revenues. Under the bill, in order to remain eligible for the property tax credit,…

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MDE Recycling Markets Study Would Help Local Recycling Programs

MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified to before the House Environment & Transportation Committee to support HB 1452 - Department of the Environment – Office of Recycling – Recycling Market. The bill would require the Office of Recycling contained within the Maryland Department of the Environment to identify new and existing markets for recycled commodities. From the MACo Testimony: In Maryland, the State mandates that counties reach certain recycling goals, and central to the revenue…

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Counties Seek Solutions to Rising Dialysis Transport Costs

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of HB 1417 - Dialysis Patient Transportation Fund and Task Force to Study the Dialysis Patient Transportation Fund. This bill establishes a fund and task force to address the pressing and costly issue of dialysis patient transport. While the bill sponsor withdrew the bill at the hearing, she urged for the committee to move forward with a task force to further explore solutions to the transports and…

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