During the last few days, the House of Delegates, State Senate, and Governor all agreed to a budget deal that includes additional funds for our state operating and capital budget for shared priorities, as well as targeted tax relief for Maryland retirees. Like any broad and bipartisan agreement, this one involves give and take and is not necessarily what I would do if I were king for a day. But overall, it represents positive progress for our state. Among the provisions of the agreement are:
-Retirees filing tax returns as individuals earning up to $100,000 per year or joint filers earning up to $150,000 will be eligible for an income tax credit of between $1,000 to $1,750 per year.
-Diapers, car seats, baby bottles, dental hygiene, pulse oximeters, and medical-grade face masks will be made tax free.
-$800 million will be deposited in the Blueprint for Maryland's Future education fund to pay for future year public education costs.
-Several healthcare and childcare programs will be funded, including expanding dental coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries.
The agreement will be before the House and the Senate later this week.
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.
One of the major bills being taken up this week is the Climate Solutions Now Act. The bill contains a number of provisions including converting the state's vehicle fleet to zero emissions, increases programs to assist farmers with climate change issues, commences a transition of school buses to zero emissions, establishes a state "green bank," requiring increased energy performance standards, and further studies on electrification.
The bills I sponsored which passed out of the House are now going through the same process in the Senate. Because many of the bills are identical to ones passed by the Senate, they will not require hearings. However, my legislation regarding Motor Vehicle Administration penalties had no Senate counterpart and a brief hearing on the bill occurred in the Judicial Proceedings Committee last week. You can watch the hearing online.
Last week I gave an overview of the operating budget proceeding through the legislative process. This week, the House will vote on the capital budget, which is essentially our state's construction budget. The overall budget includes approximately one billion dollars for school construction, higher education institutions, hospitals, state parks and more. In our community, some of the funded projects include:
-$2.5 million for a new park at the Farm Women's Cooperative Market.
-$1.35 million for school system playground repairs.
-$6.8 million for Montgomery County's zero emission bus transition for RideOn.
-Over $60 million to support the County's Bus Rapid Transit implementation.
-$12 million for the Bethesda Metro South Entrance being constructed in conjunction with the Purple Line.
-$500,000 for Round House Theatre's renovations.
-$130,000 for Glen Echo Park's parking lot rehabilitation project.
-$600,000 for Little Falls Stream Valley Park maintenance.
-$1.250 million for the Housing Opportunities Commission and Montgomery County project at the Metropolitan to stop the chronic flooding there, which keeps damaging the parking lot elevator.
A state court has voided the Congressional map the legislature passed late last year. You can read the ruling here. The legal action will continue, but in the short term the court has ordered the legislature to redraw the lines in compliance with the ruling. The new proposed map which will be submitted to the court is still under debate this week, but you can review it here.
Last week, there was also a trial on the state legislative lines but no decision has been issued on those lines yet.
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