As promised, we are back with week 2 of our weekly legislative updates. This is an exciting and historic time in the State of Maryland and the future of our State is bright.
Monday, former Delegate Brooke Lierman was sworn in as the Comptroller of Maryland and is the first woman to hold this office.
Tuesday, the Environment & Transportation Committee received briefings from 3 instrumental groups as we prepare to deliberate a myriad of bills that fall within their area of advocacy and expertise: Maryland Environmental Service, Maryland Municipal League, and Maryland Association of Counties.
Wednesday, not only Maryland, but the nation stood at attention as we witnessed the historic swearing in of Governor Wes Moore and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller. The pomp and circumstance, however, is now over, and the General Assembly has hit the ground running operating in communication and collaboration with the new administration.
Thursday, I was honored to have several unions and advocacy groups visit our new office. If you have not yet had the opportunity to greet us in Annapolis, please email email@example.com to schedule a visit.
Friday, I dropped off my first bill in the hopper (House Clerks Office) seeking to create an Accessory Dwelling Unit Policy Task Force. We must seek ways to address the lack of housing, answer questions surrounding housing policy (even the hard ones), and develop meaningful solutions surrounding growth and development. This proposed legislation would bring all the key stakeholders to the table.
A full comprehensive list of all the legislation I will be sponsoring will be available next week. If you have any questions regarding legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me office. Please note, that we are actively monitoring the situation referencing The Maryland 529 Trust.
Finally, on Friday, the Governor unveiled his budget as well. At first glance, it is very evident that this administration is off to an amazing start. However, my staff and I are still combing through the Governor's 2,000 page draft budget. Please keep in mind that this is preliminary budget and due to the fact that the legislature has the ability to now add and take away from the Governor's submitted budget, changes are likely. Here a few important notes in the FY24 budget that i'd like to lift up.
This year’s FY24 operating budget is 1.7% smaller than the FY23 budget because of the declining federal spending.
This budget is fiscally responsible, meeting our 10% Rainy Day Fund goal while preserving a healthy fund balance for future priorities or revenue write downs.
In 2021, the General Assembly passed the RELIEF Act which included the highest earned income tax credit (EITC) in the nation and extended the benefit to those with ITIN numbers. The budget funds an enhancement of the child tax credit that helps working parents.
The budget includes a 9.3% increase in K-12 education funding while also setting aside another $500M for the implementation of the Blueprint. This builds on the State’s commitment to fully funding the Blueprint while helping to address the learning loss that occurred because of Covid-19.
Our top priority this session is rebuilding state government. The budget funds continued cost of living raises for state employees as we seek to rebuild state government, fill critical state jobs to reduce our record level vacancy rate of 13.4% and retain quality workers.
The budget sets aside $500 million in new transportation funding that will be invested in transit and transportation capital projects. Marylanders have gone back to work, and this needed funding will help to improve their commutes while reducing our carbon emissions.
The Capital budget is $1.2B total, which is in line with the legislature’s recommendations. It will continue to support the creation of Maryland jobs while funding the majority of the General Assembly’s previously approved capital priorities.
Post covid, we’ve seen a need to expand mental health across all sectors. The Governor set aside $78 million for new behavioral health infrastructure investments to help address the mental health crisis.
As I continue to fight for you during this 90 day Legislative Session, I will strive with everything in me to serve you in excellence, honesty, and integrity. If I can ever be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Delegate Jeffrie Long Jr.
House District 27B