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  • 2019 Maryland General Assembly Update Week Eleven-Budgets and Bills

    March 25, 2019

    2019 Maryland General Assembly Update
    Week Eleven-Budgets and Bills

    With the number of days left in the 439th Legislative Session winding down, the Floor work is picking up. Senator Carozza voted for Governor Larry Hogan’s balanced budget that includes no new taxes and record education spending. Senator Carozza voted against legislation that would harm our small businesses and voted for legislation that would provide some relief to them.
    Members of the Maryland General Assembly have one required job when they come to Annapolis: pass a budget. Governor Hogan’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget unanimously passed the State Senate on March 21. The FY 2020 Budget includes no new taxes, a record $6.9 billion for education; $405.2 million in direct aid to local school systems; $10 million towards BOOST non-public school aid; $80 million allocated to substance use disorder treatment; and $1 million for Ocean City beach maintenance. Governor Hogan’s budget also includes a 7% salary increase for correctional officers.
    Governor Hogan?s legislation expanding the Small Business Relief
Tax Credit passed the State Senate unanimously on Tuesday, March 19.
    Governor Hogan’s legislation expanding the Small Business Relief Tax Credit passed the State Senate unanimously on Tuesday, March 19.
    The Senate FY 2020 Capital Budget included Governor Hogan’s proposals to fund $500,000 for the Somerset County Visitor Center; $800,000 for Maryland State Police Barrack renovations in Berlin; $11 million towards replacing the Salisbury Animal Health Laboratory; $1.19 million for co-generation plant upgrades at Eastern Correctional Institution; $5 million towards the construction of a new building for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy; $800,000 for renovating the east tower at Peninsula Regional Medical Center; and $2 million for the Coastal Resiliency Program, including shoreline stabilization and marsh restoration along Selsey Road in West Ocean City.
    Also included in the Senate’s FY 2020 Capital Budget is funding for local projects: $26,000 for the Delmarva Discovery Center in Pocomoke to make repairs to the river otter exhibit; $95,000 for the Salisbury Elks Lodge; $100,000 for the Truitt Street Community Center; $14,000 for improvements to the concession stand at Fruitland Park; and $60,000 for renovating the Crisfield Customs House.
    “Governor Hogan’s budget funds key Shore priorities without raising taxes,” Senator Carozza said after voting for the budget. “We worked really hard to include salary increases for our dedicated correctional officers in the Senate budget and will work to keep that language in the final budget.”
    The full Senate held a final vote on the amended Senate Bill 280, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Senator Carozza voted against this legislation, noting the negative impact on job creators and first-time employees, and the predicted loss of 99,000 jobs and $61 billion over a decade statewide.
    The legislation being sent to Governor Hogan’s desk would increase the minimum wage to $11 in January 2020. It would then increase by 75 cents a year to $14 in 2024, and reach $15 in 2025. Businesses with less than 15 employees are granted more time to phase in the increase: steadily increasing 60 cents a year after January and finally reaching $15 in July 2026.
    “The minimum wage, Fight for 15, is too hard on our small businesses and will end up taking away jobs from first-time employees and retirees,” said Carozza, who offered an amendment that would create a regional tier system for implementation of any increase in minimum wage. The amendment was not approved by the Senate, so Carozza voted against the bill.
    Senator Carozza noted some relief for small businesses on the Senate Floor this week with the passage of Senate Bill 89— Small Business Relief Tax Credit. This legislation, introduced by Governor Hogan and cosponsored by Senator Carozza, expands the small business relief tax credit for small businesses providing paid parental leave benefits to qualified employees.
    This week the full Senate debated Senate Bill 516—Clean Energy Jobs. This legislation would increase Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030, remove waste-to-energy and refuse-derived fuel sources from eligibility, and add a new round of offshore wind applications. During the debate, Senator Carozza voted for an amendment that removes waste-to-energy and refuse-derived fuel from eligibility in Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
    “While increasing the amount of renewable energy produced in Maryland is a shared goal, my concerns about the increased costs and regulations resulting from this legislation led to my decision to vote against Senate Bill 516,” Senator Carozza said after the vote. Senate Bill 516 passed the full Senate by a vote of 33-13.
    Shore visitors to Annapolis this week included education advocates Debra Fisher from Ocean Pines, Debra Hile from Ocean Pines, Joan Roache from Ocean City, Becky Simonds from Ocean Pines, Kathy Emmit from Ocean Pines, Doris Fields from West Ocean City, Linda Linzey from Ocean Pines, Terri Humphrey from Ocean Pines, Sandy Sribnick, and Joan Lattayne from Berlin; and the Honorable Brynja McDivitt Booth of Easton, who on Friday was confirmed by the full Senate to the first Appellate Circuit on the Maryland Court of Appeals.
    Senators Carozza and Eckardt are pictured with Brynja McDivitt Booth and her family of Easton.
    Ms. Booth was confirmed as an Appellate Justice for the Maryland Court of Appeals on Friday, March 22.
    The Maryland Defense Force, Maryland Army National Guard, and Maryland Air National Guard were recognized on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, March 20.  
                 Click on this link to see a calendar of the list of bills that are coming up this week. Once on the calendar, you can click onto the various committees to see which actual bills are being taken up. Senator Carozza serves on the Education-Health-Environment Committee ( also referred to as: EHE)     Calendar of Bills This Week
    Mary Beth Carozza