Sen. Adelaide C. Eckardt’s Legislative Wrap-Up

eckardtheadshot

ANNAPOLIS — Senator Adelaide C. (Addie) Eckardt (R), District 37, representing Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot and Wicomico counties, sends this dispatch from her Annapolis office:

• Senate Bill 16 – Talbot County – Board of Education – Student Members was heard on Wednesday January 20, 2016 in the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. This bill increases, from one to two, the number of nonvoting student members on the Talbot County Board of Education. The two student members must be eleventh or twelfth grade public school students and are appointed to one-year terms according to procedures adopted by the county board. One student member must be appointed from St. Michaels High School and the other from Easton High School. St. Michaels High School Principle, Helga Einhorn, and St. Michaels Student Board Member, Sequoia Chupek, came to testify in support of our efforts.

• Senate Bill 137 – Income Tax Credit – Preservation and Conservation Easements has a scheduled hearing in the Budget and Taxation Committee on Feb. 3, 2016 at 1 pm. This bill alters provisions of the law concerning a credit against the State income tax for preservation and conservation easements to allow an individual or a member of a pass-through entity to claim the credit for an easement conveyed to the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, or the Department of Natural Resources; requiring the Comptroller to adopt specified regulations; applying the Act to all taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

As announced by the governor, the FY 2017 operating budget totals $17.1 billion, which will include a Rainy Day fund balance of $1.1 billion and a cash balance of $440 million going into FY 2018.In 2015, the Hogan administration inherited $5.1 billion in accumulated structural deficits, including a $2.1 billion deficit in 2015 and 2016.
Over the course of the last year, almost 90 percent of that inherited $5.1 billion deficit has been eliminated. The governor’s proposed budget will continue to build on this progress and provide for sound fiscal management in future years.

The Hogan Administration’s FY 2017 proposed budget fully funds every single General Assembly statutory spending obligation, fully funds 100 percent of education spending increases, and fully funds GCEI. Governor Hogan’s proposed budget provides $6.3 billion for K-12 education, an increase of $140 million, $314 million for new school construction projects, $231 million in highway user revenues, $7.3 billion in aid to local governments, and provides $35 million to address the long-standing deficiencies accrued by the previous administration.

Additionally, Governor Hogan announced his intent to propose tax relief and reduction legislation to deliver approximately $400 million in relief to an estimated 1 million more Maryland citizens, and to over 300,000 small businesses over the next 5 years. The Marylanders who will benefit the most under the governor’s tax proposals will be the ones who have been struggling the most: families, retirees, and small business owners.

Editor’s note: You may write to Senator Eckardt at: James Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Room 322, Annapolis, MD 21401 – 1991; or e-mail: adelaide.eckardt@senate.state.md.us

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.