Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief legislative officer, former Senator Joe Getty, along with former Delegate Keiffer Mitchell, special advisor, were invited to address the Chamber’s Legislative Committee on Monday, February 1.
After brief introductory remarks, Mr. Getty noted the Governor introduced his budget on January 20, 2016. He was quick to tell the Chamber that the $5.2B structural deficit the Governor faced last budget season has been reduced to a $600,000 to $700,000 deficit. He attributed the reduction to a combination of “tight management” and “positive economic indicators”. Items highlighted as important to the administration included:
Mr. Mitchell, special advisor to the Governor on education matters, spoke about a Maryland education tax credit and P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School).
Mr. Getty told the gathering that a little more than 80% of the budget is mandated spending. The Governor doesn’t like mandates and doesn’t like the level of spending required by mandates. The Governor will continue to address mandated spending formulas as necessary.
The presentation was followed by a brief question and answer period. Two important topics included:
Workplace Regulatory Issues
Mr. Getty characterized last year’s session, 2015, as a test run for workplace regulatory issues. He identified Kelly Schwartz as the Governor’s chief spokesperson on regulatory issues and Chris Carroll as the point person for the Legislative Office. Mr. Getty made it a point to tell the members of the Legislative Committee that these two people are important resources on workplace regulatory issues.
Beyond the Budget
The Governor submitted a budget that funds all mandates fully. As such, Mr. Getty did not see the need for a 2016 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) but did not rule out a supplemental budget.
In wrapping up the discussion it was noted that this will be a very busy legislative session, by Friday of last week (January 29) budget bill numbers had surpassed 3,000. The Governor will be selective on those bills the Administration takes a position on.