As we head into fall, preparation for the 2016 legislative session continues. I will be speaking to a number of community groups, civic associations, and other community members over the next few months about state issues. If you know of a group that would like to hear from one of their state legislators, please let me know. You can also keep up with all my activities by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
Even when the legislature is not in session, the work goes on.
About two weeks ago, I joined other members of the Appropriations Committee for a tour of schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County and a discussion with the Maryland Stadium Authority regarding school construction. The Maryland Stadium Authority has been partnering with Baltimore City on a massive school construction effort and there are important lessons to be learned for similar needs around the state. Whether it is aged schools in Baltimore City, a lack of air conditioning in Baltimore County, or a lack of school capacity in Montgomery County, school construction is an important issue.
Earlier this week, I attended a hearing on transportation held by the Joint Committee on Federal Relations. We heard from the Department of Legislative Services, National Conference of State Legislatures, the Baltimore and DC-area Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and the state Secretary of Transportation. It was an informative hearing. I asked questions about state trials of vehicle miles traveled ("VMT") taxes as a future alternative for the gas tax, our regional Metropolitan Planning Organization's role with Metro, and the Purple Line. The hearing can be viewed here.
The Appropriations Committee also held a hearing yesterday on Governor Hogan's 2% across the board spending cut. Governor Hogan requested this cut as part of the current year's budget but declined to provide any details while the legislature considered the budget last year. We authorized the cut on the condition that the Department of Budget and Management keep us updated. Not surprisingly, the Administration has found that not all government agencies can absorb a 2% cut without affecting core services and is now seeking some flexibility--called deficiency appropriations--to handle the cuts. The Administration's report is available here.
Our County Board of Elections is responsible for selecting early voting sites. What many are unaware of is that the County Board is actually controlled by the state and, therefore, a majority of its members are appointees of Governor Hogan. Currently, District 16 has no early voting site but the Board of Elections has eliminated the site closest to a majority of District 16 residents: The Lawton Center in Chevy Chase. Worse yet, the Lawton Center was swapped for a site in Potomac. While I do not dispute that voters in Potomac should have access to early voting, when the County is limited to ten sites I think it is a mistake to eliminate a site near transit, employment centers, and dense community neighborhoods in favor of the much more sparsely populated Potomac. You can read an article on the issue here. The proposal now goes to the State Board of Elections, which I hope will reject the change.
The state's Board of Revenue Estimates has released updated estimated budget figures. On the basis of current estimates, the state will receive $80.6 million more in revenue in the current fiscal year than was previously expected. You can review the new estimate here.
District 16 Notes
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