A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
1. Hogan outlines plans for Maryland’s historic budget surplus
On Wednesday, Governor Hogan unveiled the state’s final budget proposal, which includes Maryland’s historic $4.6 billion surplus, pouring billions into statewide construction projects and eliminating all state incomes taxes for retirees by 2028. His proposal also highlighted investments in safety net programs, higher education and making the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit permanent. The budget will need the Maryland General Assembly’s final approval where some have already pushed back on enacting long-term tax cuts. However, Hogan remains hopeful of reaching a bipartisan deal that will be critical to Maryland’s economic recovery.
Read more about why tax reform is desperately needed in Maryland here.
2. On a party-line vote, Maryland senators pass new map of General Assembly districts
Yesterday, Maryland’s Senate voted 32-14 in a party-line vote to advance a new map of the General Assembly districts for future elections, sending it to the House of Delegates for final approval. Despite objections from Republican leaders, Democrats believe the new map is a fair representation of Maryland voters and in compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act and the state’s constitution. Governor Hogan does not have veto rights over the newly passed map, therefore it will likely become law next week and go into effect before June’s primary elections.
Read the full story here.
3. Governor Hogan announces $50 M for additional child care stabilization grants
Governor Hogan announced on Monday the allocation of $50 million in grants in Maryland’s FY 2023 budget to help child care providers with COVID-19 related expenses such as personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments, and providing mental health support for children and employees. Many child care providers have struggled to remain open during the pandemic, making policies like this both critical for their survival and important to allow more Marylanders to return to work.
“Child care is one of our most essential services, and keeping facilities open and available to parents with minimal disruption is a top priority,” said Hogan. “We want to thank our providers for all of their efforts, and we look forward to working closely with them to allocate this critical relief.”
4. The OSHA rule is blocked. Here’s how experts say employers can proceed
OSHA’s mandate-or-testing rule was blocked last week by the U.S. Supreme Court, leaving many employers wondering if they should proceed with their COVID-19 vaccine mandate programs even though they no longer face potential federal penalties. Legal experts weigh in on employers’ next steps, given OSHA’s continued efforts to implement a permanent mandate or testing rule through some of their more traditional, nonemergency channels.
5. State and local governments will face brutal worker crunch, expert warns
Maryland has been forecasted to expect robust economic growth in the years ahead, fueled by federal aid and an increase in workforce and consumer spending. However, the annual briefing offered by economist Dan White, director of government consulting for Moody’s Analytics, which helps the legislature’s fiscal committees with spending decisions during their 90-day session was not all positive. He warned the rapid pace at which inflation is rising and the potential for new COVID variants present the biggest threat to the economy in the near future. Employers are having to increase prices to offset the cost of rising wages needed to retain employees and fill in vacancies, which is not an option for state and local governments who are getting hammered by the highest turnover rate they have ever seen. This is putting pressure on Maryland policymakers to re-evaluate the importance of more competitive salaries to prevent government “brain drain” and to help the economy reach full employment like many expect later this year.
Read the full story here.
Upcoming Legislative Briefings and Hearings
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Wednesday, January 26th, 2022
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Exclusive event! STATE of the STATE presented by Bank of America
Thursday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Governor Larry Hogan will deliver a keynote address followed by a panel discussion addressing the state of Maryland’s economy & recovery at this virtual event.
Please visit our event page for more information.