Opinion: Stimulus Package Will Remain Half-Baked Unless Local Governments Get More of the Dough

President Trump this week signed a massive $2 trillion stimulus package designed to keep the economy afloat amid the deepening COVID-19 pandemic. As previously reported on Conduit Street, The bill includes $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds; $500 billion lending fund for industries, local governments, and states; $367 billion for small business loans; $130 billion for hospitals; and $1,200 checks to most Americans. The $150 billion for state and local governments is generally…

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Tax Provision in COVID Bill May Carry State/County Revenue Losses

A provision included in the massive COVID response legislation moving through Congress offers a new tax write-off for investors, and may reduce tax bases for states (and for Maryland counties). In the high-profile CARES bill accelerated through the U.S. Senate and pending House agreement (as of this writing), a provision amidst the many stimulus offerings is a structural change to the basis for taxing investment income. From a discussion in the New York Times: Senate…

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Further School Closures in MD and COVID-19 Efforts

State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced that all Maryland public schools will now remain closed for another four weeks through April 24, 2020 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. During Governor Hogan's March 25 press release, several announcements were made including the extended closure of Maryland public schools. "I am working in concert with all local school system superintendents, including multiple calls per week, in order to provide the continuity of learning to all…

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A Look at 2019 State Annual Personal Income
Courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
A Look at 2019 State Annual Personal Income

Without question, the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic has been sudden and unprecedented. In the span of just a couple weeks, restaurants and non-essential businesses have been shut down statewide and consumer spending on non-emergency items has plummeted. The full effect of these impacts will not be known for some time, but it is clear they will be meaningful. Looking back to 2019, across the United States, state personal income increased by 4.4 percent…

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States Need to Prepare for Rising Unemployment Insurance Claims

Unemployment insurance is a critical component of the governmental response to COVID-19, but states are now seeing an unprecedented number of claims that will tax state unemployment funds beyond their limits. At the federal level, there is much support for expanding eligibility criteria and providing for extended benefits, both funded by the federal government. although the majority of initial costs are borne by the state. From Tax Foundation: State payroll taxes, called SUTA taxes, fund…

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2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Operating Budget

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of State budget policy in the 2020 General Assembly.  County governments receive support through multiple state operating budget programs, and shifts in the State’s budget can affect county governments in various ways. MACo seeks county budget security through maintenance of current state funding levels, and new funding programs and enhancements in areas of growth and need. This year, for the first time…

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The Final “Enrolled” Kirwan Blueprint Bill – Printed, and Heading to the Governor

The final version of HB 1300, the Kirwan Blueprint bill, has been published online. Visit the Maryland General Assembly website for the final bill text (coming in at a robust 235 pages), the fiscal effects of the final bill, and other information about the most-watched bill of the 2020 legislative session. See other Conduit Street coverage.

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General Assembly Approves Bill That Could Transform Maryland’s Budget Process

The General Assembly today passed SB 1028 - Balancing the State Budget, legislation that could transform the state budget process. This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the Maryland voters at the November 2020 election, would allow the General Assembly to move items around in the budget. The Senate amended the bill to grant the governor line item veto power for the operating budget. Under current law, the governor may only line item veto parts…

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Kirwan Blueprint Bill Heads to Governor, With a “Trigger” Provision

The Kirwan Blueprint bill for education funding, HB 1300, passed the House as expected on Tuesday night. A "trigger" mechanism added by a late amendment offered some skeptics comfort - but how does it work? The Kirwan Blueprint bill has passed the General Assembly. The House, as expected, voted to concur with the Senate-adopted changes to the bill, with a veto-proof vote. But, will that veto override be required? Maybe that comes down to one…

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