How 75% of State School Construction Funding May Be Spent

The Interagency Commission on School Construction takes the first step in reviewing funding for the fiscal 2020 year's capital budget for school construction. This is the first season of school capital budgeting under the modified process laid out by the General Assembly in its 2018 law, the 21st Century School Facilities Act. The Interagency Commission, created by that 2018 law, heard a presentation on the new process, and a quick overview of some of the…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Election Tidbits, Congressional District Dilemma, and Amazon Is Coming! … Sort Of

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally discuss some of the "too close to call" election races in Frederick County, review the fate of some of the more intriguing ballot questions from across the country, explain the significance of a federal court's ruling that Maryland's 6th Congressional District is unconstitutionally gerrymandered and must be redrawn in time for the 2020 election, and ponder what Amazon's decision to co-locate…

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Voters Approve Question 1, Casino Revenue Lockbox for Education

In the general election, Maryland voters approved an amendment to the State Constitution to safeguard State video lottery terminal revenues for education purposes. When the General Assembly passed legislation to allow video lottery terminals in some locations in Maryland, they stated that the primary purpose of the terminals was raising revenue for: (i) Education for the children of the State in public schools, prekindergarten through grade; and (ii) Public school construction and public school capital…

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Kirwan Commission Mulls Changes to Education Funding Formulas

The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education held its most recent meeting today in Annapolis. Known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, the Commission considered a Maryland Department of Legislative Services analysis of an education consultant's recommendations to adjust state and local education funding formulas. Noting the Commission's December deadline, Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, a MACo representative on the Commission, expressed concerns over whether…

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It’s Not Apples-to-Apples in School Construction Funding

In Maryland, the State shares school construction costs with counties, but the State only considers some construction costs eligible for funding. The State of Maryland contributes to school construction funding. The contribution varies from a minimum of 50% to 100%. Those percentages, however, belie the fact that the State does not consider all school construction costs as eligible for its funding. Many costs of construction are excluded from the formula before the percentage is even…

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State Announces Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

49 Fire Departments in 17 Counties Receive $104,099 The Maryland Department of Natural Resources this week announced it will distribute  Volunteer Fire Assistance grants to 49 volunteer fire departments. The projects, distributed throughout 17 counties, aim to assist volunteer fire companies and departments enhance wildland fire protection in rural areas and communities. According to a press release: The Maryland Forest Service awarded $104,099 in matching funding to complete $245,907 in total projects. The maximum grant awarded was $3,000 per…

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Keep a Lid on Debt, Committee Advises

The Capital Debt Affordability Committee continues its commitment to a flat capital program with a recommendation to the Governor and General Assembly to cap new debt at $995 million for the fiscal year 2020. The final meeting of the Capital Debt Affordability Committee (CDAC) included discussion of revenues, infrastructure costs, and debt service amounts and a vote to recommend no more than 995 million in new debt for the 2020 fiscal year. The Treasurer also…

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Board Bumps Up Revenue Projections $400 Million for FY 20

The Board of Revenue Estimates voted today to write up the revenue projections for the State of Maryland for Fiscal Year 2019 by $325 million, representing a 4.1 percent increase over prior estimates. The Board also unveiled the first official estimates for fiscal year 2020, which is projected to be $18.7 billion, representing a 3.3 percent increase over fiscal year 2019 and a $407 million increase over the prior planning numbers. See the Board's report,…

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Is Maryland Prepared for the Next Recession?

Separate, in-depth reviews released in recent days by two major credit-rating agencies say nearly a quarter of all states are well-positioned to handle the first-year shock of a recession with their reserves — and Maryland is not one of them. It has been more than nine years since the end of the last recession, the third longest period of expansion in U.S. history, and state and local governments across the country are beginning to look…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Pondering Potential “Pay-Fors”

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally discuss ways in which Maryland could increase state revenues. A lingering structural deficit, coupled with new and expensive funding proposals, could bring forth a plethora of revenue-generating policy proposals, sometimes known as "pay-fors" -- literally, paying for something that the government wants to buy. Listen here: MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast.…

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