The new Speaker of the House recently asked me to become chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Environment. As someone who has spent so much time on transportation and environmental issues, I am humbled and excited to take on the assignment.
The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the budget of the Department of Transportation and each of its modes, such as the State Highway Administration, Maryland Transit Administration, Maryland Transportation Authority, airports and sea port; the Maryland Department of the Environment; the Maryland Department of Agriculture; the Public Service Commission; and more. I look forward to my new role in overseeing these state agencies and their work.
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.
Taking the gavel of the Transportation & Environment Subcommittee means giving up my current chairmanship: the Personnel Subcommittee. It has been a productive year guaranteeing transit benefits for our state employees; making sure our employees receive cost-of-living adjustments; funding a new state employee student loan repayment program; and ensuring that our state employees are well treated while delivering for Marylanders. I am happy to hand off the gavel to my friend and former Vice Chair, Delegate Pat Young.
The Comptroller's Office and Bureau of Revenue Estimates have issued the "closeout" report for the state's fiscal year 2019, which ended on June 30th. You can read the full report here: https://tinyurl.com/yykuj3p3
There is an unassigned fund balance--the amount leftover after expenses or allocations--of $351.4 million. That just sits in the state's bank account for now (the Governor may, for example, allocate it as part of next year's budget process). The report also shows a "Rainy Day" fund balance of approximately $876 million.
More interesting, at least to me, is the analysis of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates on the fiscal and economic outlook and the tax trends. Personal and corporate taxes were higher than expected (in significant part because of federal tax changes) and the sales tax is fairly soft, although charging for more online purchases in line with the Wayfair Supreme Court decision increased revenue. Of course, what most Marylanders really care about is what these funds go towards: education, public safey, healthcare and more.
The Administration has released its draft Consolidated Transportation Program, its six year capital funding plan. The draft shows a $1.2 billion drop in capital spending in this plan compared to the last six year plan; shifts responsibility for the Corridor Cities Transitway to the County; and projects $103 million in spending on I-270/I-495 expansion (funds the Administration has said will be repaid by a private vendor). The full report is available online and will be the subject of a hearing in Rockville included in the community events below.
- A [partial] success! The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)--the local water utility--has partially backed off its plans to spend ratepayer dollars on a large scale rebranding. You can read about it in the Washington Post.
- Congratulations to Sue Schumacher on her unanimous election as Second Vice President of the Civic Federation.
- Two District 16 residents, Leslie and Sam Kaplan, are being recognized by the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes with the Melvin S. Cohen Community Service Award.
- Since my last update, many District 16 residents have been confirmed to Montgomery County Boards and Commissions:
- Energy and Air Quality Advisory Committee: Linda Silverman and Robert Russo
- Early Childhood Coordinating Council: Robin Chernoff
- Condolences to the family of Ed Esty, a Friendship Heights resident I first got to know during the Obama campaign who recently passed away.
- Sheldon Grosberg was involved in countless community activities and organizations. Condolences to his family and loved ones on his passing.
- Condolences to District 16's Ben Ross on the passing of his mother.
- Bethesda's Jane Cantor recently passed away after a short illness. Among other endeavors, Jane was a big supporter of the Ivymount School.
- The Friends of White Flint will host its next Community Meeting on Tuesday, September 24th at 7pm at AMP by Strathmore at Pike & Rose.
- Councilman Andrew Friedson will host a Community Conversation on Wednesday, September 25th at 7:30pm at the Mansion at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike).
- On Monday, November 4th at 7pm the Maryland Department of Transportation will visit Rockville for the Consolidated Transportation Program Presentation. The event will be held at the County Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville).
- The Montgomery County Delegation to Annapolis will hold its Joint Priorities Hearing on Wednesday, November 20th at 7pm. The hearing is an opportunity for interested residents to present issues of concern to the legislators. More information about testifying will be available soon. The meeting will be held at the County Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville).
- There will be two nights of bill hearings on local bills (those that only affect Montgomery County) on Monday, December 2nd and Monday December 9th. The hearings begin at 7pm and will be held at the County Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville).
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.