Study Finds Maryland’s FY 2012 General Fund Spending Increases by 11%

According to a jointly sponsored study by the National Governor's Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers, Maryland's General Fund spending will increase by 11% in FY 2012, the fourth largest of any state. According to the Washington Times: Maryland's General Assemblyin April passed a $34.2 billion budget, which includes $14.6 billion in general fund spending — an increase from last year’s $13.2 billion.Three states — Florida, Minnesota and Iowa — will have…

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State Tax Revenues on the Rise, Most Counties See Decline

As reported by the Baltimore Business Journal, State tax revenues were up 7% for the month of April and 5% for the fiscal year to date. Growth in individual income tax collection led the way. The state has received $5.1 billion in income tax receipts so far this fiscal year, compared with $4.9 billion at this point in fiscal 2010. Sales tax receipts have also grown slightly, to $2.7 billion so far this fiscal year…

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Comprehensive Overview of 2011 Legislative Session Now Available

A publication from the Department of Legislative Services called the 90 Day Report is now available.  This report provides details for the legislative and budgetary actions taken by the General Assembly during the 2011 session that ended on April 11, 2011.  Section A provides details of the State budget with Section A-69 outlining State Aid to Local Governments.  Section B provides details of all tax related legislation and Section C-17 provides details on Pensions and…

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End of Session Update: State Employee and Teacher Pensions

A previous post provided an overview of the many pieces of legislation introduced during the session dealing with pension reform generally or teacher pensions.  The one bill  missing from this list is HB 1344, the pension reform plan endorsed by the Republican Caucus, which was introduced after this post.  This bill would establish a 401k or a cash balance option for employees. With exception of HB 72, the Governor's Budget Reconciliation Act, these bills were…

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Final Budget Actions Affecting Local Governments

A previous post provided an overview of the major budgetary decisions affecting local governments.  This post provides a broader summary.  The actions in the right most column (Conference Committee and Final Action) were agreed to through a House and Senate Conference Committee and represent the final budget plan for both the operating budget (HB 70) and Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (HB 72) for FY 2012, which will begin July 1, 2011. The links below…

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House Alcohol Tax Proposal Includes Support for School Construction

Following a day of protracted debate (with a week or so of buildup), the House of Delegates is currently debating (as of Saturday evening) HB 1213, legislation to impose a new sales tax rate of 9% on alcoholic beverages. The multiple repercussions of the tax rate increase are somewhat complex, but one item included in the House Ways and Means Committee amendments would direct funds for the FY 2012 budget to public school construction projects.…

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House and Senate Conferees Complete Work on the FY 2012 Budget

House and Senate budget conferees have completed their work to resolve the differences in each chamber’s respective FY 2012 budget plan (HB 70/ HB 72).  It is anticipated that both chambers will pass the revised budget by Friday. As reported by the Washington Post, both sides have resolved differences over State employee and teacher pensions and retiree health care. Under that compromise, state retirees will see their maximum out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs more than…

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States Fear Local Effects if Shutdown Cuts Off Cash

Many states are worrying about the effect of a federal government shut down on their ability to balance their budgets. With budgets already tight, some states are doubtful that they can advance state money for federal expenses for very long. From the New York Times: If a shutdown were to happen, the federal money that helps states pay the administrative costs of their stretched unemployment programs could dry up, forcing states to advance the money to keep the programs…

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Budget Conferees Meet – Pensions and Retiree Health Areas of Disagreement

As previously reported, a House and Senate conference committee has been appointed to resolve the differences in each chamber's respective budget plan.  As reported by MarylandReporter.com, the biggest areas of disagreement are over pensions and retiree health benefits.  These differences are summarized below. RETIREMENT AGE: The Senate adopted the “Rule of 92” to receive full pension benefits. This means that the age of an employee or teacher at their retirement and their length of service…

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Debate on State Budget Goes To Conference Committee

The House and Senate have both passed their versions of the State's operating budget for FY 2012, however, the two versions must be reconciled before the budget can be enacted.  A conference committee has been appointed to iron out the important issues and come to an agreement.    Members appointed to the committee are: House Conferees-Delegate Norman Conway, Delegate John Bohanan, Delegate Tawanna Gaines, Delegate Melanie Griffith and Delegate Peter Hammen - Advisors -Delegate James…

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