Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - Jan 24, 2023


The big news in Annapolis last week was the inauguration of Governor Wes Moore. A few days later, he introduced his first budget.


Governor Moore $63.1 Billion Budget



The governor is proposing to make a one-time cash payment of $500 million into the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Trust Fund, the state’s savings account for a decade-long education reform effort.

The half-billion-dollar Blueprint payment is in addition to fully funding the state’s public schools at $8.8 billion, a 10% increase from the current year. The proposed education budget also includes $15 million for a new teacher recruitment incentive that will be part of the Maryland Educator Shortage Act. Moore’s budget proposal also includes money for a $1,000 retention bonus for school support professionals.


The Budget dedicates $500 million to new transportation projects.  Moore said he hoped the transportation boost would be matched with additional federal funding.  Moore has also pledged to seek significant changes to Hogan’s plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270

Other notable items in the budget:

o   $171 million is budgeted for the Family Prosperity Act, which would make permanent an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit passed by lawmakers in 2021.

o   $218 million in state funds are budgeted for additional payments for community health service providers; combined with federal funding, the budget includes a total of $616 million for provider rate increases. The funding is meant to help service providers keep up with the expected acceleration in the effective date of Maryland’s $15 minimum wage,

o   $33 million is budgeted for the Keep Our Heroes at Home Act, which would exempt a portion of military retirement income from taxation.

o   $10 million is budgeted for the Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act, which would incentivize business creation and expansion.

o   Other budgetary items include a 13% increase in funding for state universities to $2.4 billion annually; record funding of $112 million for the Educational Excellence Awards program, the state’s largest need-based student aid program; a $38 million increase in formula funding for the state’s 15 community colleges; and $5 million for the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Program.

o   As the state faces a potential recession, the governor’s budget also includes funding to continue an extra $45 per month payment for Marylanders receiving Temporary Cash Assistance or Temporary Disability Assistance.

o   Another top priority for Moore is “rebuilding state government.” Since 2013, the number of positions budgeted for the executive branch has declined by 2,000 workers. At the same time, the vacancy rate for the spots that remained soared, to about 13.4%, or 6,500 vacant executive branch positions currently. The budget includes funding to drop the vacancy rate by about half. Expansions of the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Public Defender are among public safety priorities, as is more than $30 million to recruit and retain parole and probation officers, correctional officers and Department of Juvenile Services employees. The budget would add 40 additional employees to help monitor firearm registration in the state.  New positions are also anticipated for state parks and at a new Water Supply Program to increase enforcement of drinking water standards.


o   Moore’s budget also includes $18 million, spread across the current fiscal year and the next, to establish a new Cabinet-level agency, the Department of Service and Civic Innovation.

Although over 400 bills have been introduced as of January 20, 2023, some of the most important bills have not been filed yet.  Here are a few new bills that I believe are significant. 

Criminal Justice

•             Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. (HB0131, Delegate Moon, Judiciary Committee and SB0054, Senator Lam, Judicial Proceedings Committee)

Economic Justice

•             The More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023 alters, from 3.2% to 3.7%, the maximum tax rate a county may impose on an individual's Maryland taxable income. This bill will allow more counties to provide tax relief to low- and middle-income residents by increasing the tax rate on high-income residents. (HB0142, Delegate Palakovich Carr, Ways and Means Committee)



•             Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis Act of 2023 requires automatic expungement of cannabis conviction records for those pardoned by the governor within 60 days of receiving the pardon. (SB0088, Senator Waldstreicher, Judicial Proceedings Committee)


•             The Effective Corporate Tax Rate Transparency Act of 2023 requires a publicly traded corporation to attach a statement identifying the corporation's effective tax rate and an explanation of the calculation of the effective tax rate. (HB0039, Delegate Charkoudian, Ways and Means Committee)


•             Prohibited Appropriations for Magnetic Levitation Transportation System (MAGLEV) prohibits the state from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system. Without improvements to commuter current traffic congestion (bus, automobile, and rail), MAGLEV provides few direct economic benefits to those who live along the proposed routes while benefitting wealthy patrons traveling between Washington and Baltimore. (SB0050, Senators Augustine and Beidle, Budget and Taxation Committee and HB0106, Delegate Williams, Environment and Transportation Committee)



Call or send an email to your legislators using the contact information found.   You can find who your legislators are on the Maryland Legislative Coalition website http://mdlegislative.com under Legislators. 

If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions shown above. You are also encouraged to include any details of why you think this bill is important.

Dear (legislator),

My name is _________ and my address is ______________.  I am writing to let you know that the following bill(s) is(are) important to me and to all Marylanders.  I would like to request that you be a champion for these bills and help them get passed quickly.  

Each of these bills is important for Maryland and I support them and would like your help in getting them passed.  If you are not on the relevant committee, I would appreciate your voting for them during session.  If you are on the relevant committee, I hope you will fight for them and support the sponsors as much as possible.

Thank you for your consideration,