From Del. Kathy Szeliga:
It’s Crunch Time Already!
Crossover is Monday …
According to our rules in Annapolis, bills must get out of the House or Senate by Monday evening in order to have enough time to get passed. We call this the “Crossover Deadline.” I’ve been asked how many bills have been introduced this year – here you go!
1287 – House bills
935 – Senate bills
2,222 total bills
This is a fairly slow year. We have 71 new delegates out of 141 total members of the House of Delegates. Next year, I fear we will be inundated with a lot of “good ideas” from newer members.
The Maryland General Assembly will be working hard all week. Many of the bills are local bills that deal only with a special liquor law. Don’t fear – I do not think we will have 2,000 new laws passed in Maryland.
It would be nice if every new law had a companion old law that was repealed!
Governor Hogan’s budget comes out of the House of Delegates
The only Constitutionally required duty of the Maryland legislature is to pass a balanced budget. The Appropriations Committee has been working on the budget all session. Last Friday, the budget bill passed out of Appropriations. The House of Delegates will be debating the budget this week. By the end of the week, the budget will pass out of the House and be sent to the Senate.
Governor Hogan presented a balanced budget in January. The House has preserved almost 80% of what Hogan presented. Some of the highlights are:
– This budget, for the first time in nearly a decade, does not rely on tax increases nor does it set up the need for future tax increases
– This budget reigns in growth to 1.3% over last year’s budget. Last year’s budget grew by 8%!
– This budget has the 2nd lowest total growth in state spending since before 1968.
– Governor Hogan’s budget eliminated the structural deficit. The House version has a structural deficit of about $200 million.
Some of the low lights of the House Appropriations budget are:
– They took $90 million from the pension promise and shifted it into the general fund.
– They took $100 million from the local income tax revenue fund and “promise” to repay it over 10 years.
– They did NOT eliminate the structural deficit as Hogan proposed.
Overall, this is the best budget I’ve seen in my 5 session in Annapolis. Spending is under control. Tax relief is on its way.
There are two components to the budget, the actual budget bill and another bill called the BRFA (budget reconciliation and financing act). I voted for the budget and against the BRFA. This is the first budget I have ever voted for. If the Senate fixes some of the problems in the BRFA, I will consider voting for that in two weeks.
The house version of the budget is headed to the senate. The senate will vote out their version. The budget and BRFA will go to a conference committee and produce a final version of the 2016 Maryland State budget. Both the house and senate will vote on the budget a final time, around April 1.
We are in the 3rd quarter of the budget football game.
Fact from Fiction
Governor Hogan’s budget funded education at the highest level in Maryland history, $6.1 billion. Every jurisdiction received a 1% increase from a foundation formula they received last year. That formula is based on student population, wealth, and a number of other factors. Why are you hearing about “cuts to education?”
Prince George’s County has declared that Gov. Hogan’s budget would result in the layoffs of at least 400 teachers. PG Co received a $30 million increase in funding over last year. I’m sure they need a new accountant because a $30 million increase in funding should not lead to any teacher layoffs.
Only in government can an increase be called a cut. Here’s how government math works.
Your boss gave you $100 last year for a gas supplement.
You ask your boss for $125 this year.
Your boss gives you $110 this year.
Regular people like you and me would consider this a $10 increase. Government accountants and politicians would call this a $15 cut.
The House Appropriations committee shifted some monies around in Gov. Hogan’s budget and did increase the foundation funding for all school systems. Baltimore City is still facing a budget deficit, but that is a problem for Baltimore City to solve.
I support education funding. And I support more accountability. The federal audit done last year uncovered many inappropriate expenses from some school systems. I’m digging into some other public school funding issues and I will share them with you soon. In the meantime, I though you would be interested in knowing how much taxpayers are spending per pupil. These numbers do not include capital money spent to build buildings and do large repairs.
$17,322 per pupil – Worcester Co – #1
$16,740 per pupil – Baltimore City – #2
$14,407 per pupil – Baltimore County – #12
$13,073 per pupil – Harford County – #21
$12,636 per pupil – Talbot Co #23
You’re Being Polled!
What Do YOU Think?
My District 7 Team and I are conducting a poll. I hope you can take a few minutes to tell me your opinion on issues that are important to you and your family.
Please feel free to share this link with your family and friends. Your opinion counts!
Thank you for your continued help and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance to you and your family.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga