Summer Reader? Grab a MACo Classic from the Archives.

In addition to weekly updates on happenings in Maryland's counties and an ever-shifting set of policy areas, during the break from the legislative session, MACo's blog regularly features several deep-dive research series on topics of perennial importance to county governments.  Over the years, the contributors to MACo's blog have assembled the following series. Whether you are catching up on your reading this summer, or simply need something to help you fall asleep at night, you…

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Wrap Up, and Look Ahead, with the Governor at #MACoCon

Be there for the traditional closing session with Governor Hogan, as he reflects on the year (and the conference), and helps Maryland turn the corner toward 2020 and beyond. Each year, MACo's summer conference serves as the unofficial turning point between wrapping up 2019, and looking at ahead to 2020. We are glad to once again host Governor Larry Hogan, as his Saturday morning address will punctuate that shift, and help county and state policymakers…

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Maryland Casino Revenues Dip for Second Straight Month

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Maryland fell four percent in June to $142.89 million from $148.90 million in June 2018, state lottery and gaming officials announced this week. In terms of year-to-year data, it's the second month in a row that Maryland casinos brought in less revenue. Casino revenue in May was down 2.7% compared with May 2018. "Contributions to the State of Maryland from June 2019 casino gaming revenue totaled $60,075,138, including $45,084,912 for…

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The Perfect Storm for County Budgets? (Spoiler: Yes)

A storm is brewing. Rising costs, revenue write downs, unfunded mandates, and greater demand for services all signal turbulent times ahead for county government budgets. At this year's MACo Summer Conference, MACo's Budget and Finance Affiliate will host a panel discussion on the economy, best practices for planning, budgeting, and forecasting, and strategies for how counties can best prepare for future fiscal uncertainties. Perfect Storm for County Budgets? (Spoiler: Yes) Description: A storm is brewing.…

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How Federal Tax Reform is Changing the Muni Market

Fearing more changes from Congress, fewer states and cities are turning to the municipal bond market. While the most direct effects of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) have been on tax revenues, the law is also influencing the way governments borrow money. The 2017 federal tax reforms have left many stakeholders, including state and local governments, uncertain about longer-term effects. One such area is with municipal bonds, which were threatened to lose…

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Valentine: More County Voices On Funding Workgroup

Former Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine served as the Vice Chair of MACo's Education Committee, and as one of the two county representatives on the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. This item was submitted as a letter to the editor to multiple Maryland news outlets. We run it here, with his permission. As a former Allegany County Commissioner, I am proud to have served over two years on the Kirwan Commission (Md. Commission…

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Hogan Stays Silent on Release of FY 2020 Restricted Funding

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-07-02) reported that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has not yet decided to release millions of dollars in funding that was fenced-off for conditional usage by the General Assembly. The standoff includes some funding for county governments for school construction and Program Open Space (POS). As previously reported on Conduit Street, the disputed funding includes $127 million for school construction, $8.5 million in local POS funding, $4 million for testing rape kits, and $3 million…

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DNR Awards $31 Million for Local Water Quality & Resiliency Grants
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DNR Awards $31 Million for Local Water Quality & Resiliency Grants

A Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) press release (2019-06-25) announced that DNR has awarded $30.9 million in water quality and resiliency grants to local communities for FY 2020. The grants are for 90 local projects in 22 counties and include ecosystem restoration projects, community resiliency projects, and stewardship and engagement projects. DNR used a "Grants Gateway" to streamline and simplify the application process. From the article: “We are pleased to support these innovative projects…

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