Annapolis Update – 1.27.17

Session is slowly moving along with seventy-four days to go.  To date, the Senate has had 435 bills introduced and the House has had 525 bills.  By the time session ends, it is expected that over 3,000 bills will be introduced.  My kids, J.W. and Kate, are constantly reminding me of what their real priorities are…

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Budget
The Governor has submitted his budget. For the third straight year, Governor Hogan has presented a balanced, fiscally responsible budget that calls for common sense, bipartisan budget reforms and ensures that the state’s priorities are fully funded without raising taxes.

Other highlights of the proposed budget include:

A record $6.4 billion investment in education, including K-12, the University System of Maryland, community colleges and tuition relief. Two-thirds of the capital budget will go toward school construction projects.

Investments in law enforcement services, such as the Maryland State Police vehicle replacement program, and an increase in funding for the Department of Natural Resources which will allow for the addition of more law enforcement officers.

$51 million toward the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.

A commitment to holding the line on unsustainable spending and reigning in borrowing. Governor Hogan’s plan to limit debt to $995 million per year will result in cumulative debt service savings of $694 million by 2026.

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Currently, 83% of spending is dictated by formulas which keeps spending on auto-pilot. The formulas demand annual expending increases, trapping the state in spending more money than it takes in.

Because of the previous administration’s egregious spending tactics, next year the state will be forced to spend more on debt service payments than school construction. This is completely unacceptable. For the first time since I’ve been a legislator in Annapolis, the Governor has submitted an operating budget that is lower than the previous year’s. I fully support this bill and would like to commend Governor Hogan for reducing Maryland’s spending while fully funding its educational needs.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2017
This bill puts a stop to the practice of using revenue windfalls, which are only temporary, to fund programs or endeavors that will demand future annual funding. During years of revenue surplus’, the excess revenue will automatically be moved to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. That excess revenue will be available to use during revenue shortfall years. I fully support this bill.

Public Charter School Act of 2017
This legislation will create the Maryland Public Charter School Authority, which is an independent public charter school authorizer. Public charter schools authorized by this new entity will have increased autonomy and will be exempted from local laws regarding district collective bargaining agreements, curriculum, textbooks, instructions, class size, staffing ratios, and professional development. Additionally in the governor’s FY 2018 operating budget, includes a $6.4 billion investment in K-12, fully funding the education aid formulas and providing record funding for the third straight year in a row.

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In other news a little closer to home, I was honored last week alongside the Governor to bestow the Maryland Century Farm Program Bi-Centennial Award to The Wright Farm of White Hall. The 120-acre farm has been owned and operated by the Wright Family since 1794, and is part of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. Wright Farm grows tomatoes, wheat, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and orchard grass, and raises hogs, bulls, chickens, mules, horses, and sheep.
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On January 20th, my wife and I had the great honor and privilege to attend the inauguration and ball for our 45th President of the United States. I am proud to say that I was not only a Trump Delegate but look forward to working in Maryland to help President Trump’s agenda.

Stay tuned for next week’s Annapolis update. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback on the Governor’s budget plan, and/or any other issues of importance to you and your family.

Best Regards,
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