There is a lot going on in the state legislature as we approach Monday's "crossover" deadline, the date by which legislation is supposed to pass from one chamber to the other. But the big news on the minds of many is about the coronavirus. We now have reported cases in Maryland and we all need to be calm and prepared. Be sure to monitor http://health.maryland.gov/coronavirus and call 211 if you think you need to be tested.
As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
The big news this past week was the House's passage of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, legislation to implement the so-called Kirwan Commission recommendations. The bill's provisions include additional resources for students who need it (impoverished, English as a second language, special needs); increased pay and support for teachers; expanded pre-K; a focus on career and college readiness; and a new accountability system. You can read the legislation and background analysis here.
Because we have a balanced budget requirement each year--unlike our friends on Capitol Hill--we need to address how to fund these expanded programs. A number of ideas have been floated including applying existing taxes to further goods and services; increasing the tobacco tax; sports gaming; and legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. A bill to raise significant revenue by taxing almost all services failed in Subcommittee, but a package of much smaller tax changes is proceeding through the process.
Two committees have sent legislation of mine to the floor this week and I am cautiously optimistic a few more pieces of legislation will move before the week is out. The first bill is the County Tax Fairness Act, which addresses repayments the County government owes to the state government for the Wynne Supreme Court decision which found that certain tax refunds were due to County residents. The residents have been compensated but stretching out the government-to-government repayment schedule improves our County's cash flow and eases the pressure on County taxpayers. The second bill is the 21st Century Economy Sales Tax Act, legislation that applies the sales tax to digital goods as 30+ other states do. I appreciate that no one likes paying taxes, but as goods we used to buy in physical form shift to digital (e.g., music, books), we need to account for that in our tax code.
A few of the bills I have drafted have received media coverage lately. The Maryland Department of Transportation Promises Act was covered by Maryland Matters and Bethesda Magazine. The Washington Post covered the Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act Alterations bill. Finally, the Capital News Service wrote about the Electric Bus Transition Act.
Congratulations to Isabel Stares of District 16 on completing her Do The Most Good student fellowship.
- The Bethesda Urban Partnership Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards will take place on Friday, March 13, 2020 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. More information is available here: https://www.bethesda.org/arts-and-entertainment/bernard-ebb-songwriting-awards
- Adventure Theatre will hold its annual gala on March 19th at 7pm at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda. More information is here: https://adventuretheatre-mtc.org/give/gala/
- 50+ and looking for help to find the best volunteer fit? Attend a Potomac Library-sponsored event on Monday, March 30 from 1pm to 2pm at the Potomac Library, 10101 Glenolden Drive, Potomac, MD 20854. You will learn about the Montgomery County Volunteer Center's rich resources for exploring volunteer opportunities, the 50+ Volunteer Network that offers personal consultations and guidance in finding an opportunity that's the right fit, and actual volunteer experiences with local nonprofits. Plus, you'll receive the 50+ Vital Living Networker packed with valuable information about local resources. The event is free and no registration is necessary; you may email email@example.com with questions.
- The League of Woman Voters will celebrate its 100th Anniversary on Saturday, April 18th at the Rockville Pike Hilton. More information is here.
- The National Capital Physician Foundation and Montgomery County Medical Society present a 1950s Casino Night & Bowling Competition Party. Sunday, June 14th starting at 7. More information at http://www.dedicatedtohealth.org/1950s-vegas-style-casino-night
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.