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Monday, April 15, 2013

Maryland General Assembly concluded the 2013 Session


Annapolis, MD – The Maryland General Assembly concluded the 2013 Session.  During this Session, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III,working in concert with Prince George’s County House and Senate Delegations,achieved legislative successes that benefit all Prince Georgians and addressed the County’s education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development priorities.

“I want to thank the members of the Prince George’s County House and Senate Delegations for delivering incredible legislative success for residents of the County,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “By addressing both policy and funding needs for education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development, our delegation members have once again delivered positive results for our citizens.”   

EDUCATION:

·         Education Reform Legislation: Today, Governor O’Malley signedMaryland House of Delegates Bill 1107 into law.  HB 1107, which goes into effect on June 1, 2013, enables County Executive Rushern L. Baker III to select the next Superintendent who, pursuant to the legislation, will hereafter be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PGCPS.  In addition, the County Executive will select the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education. The legislation also authorizes the County Executive to appoint three members to the Board of Education and the County Council will make one appointment.  The legislation authorizes the Governor to appoint a three member search committee for the CEO.  The County Executive will select the new CEO from the three finalists recommended to him by the search committee.   In coming weeks, the County Executive will work with the Board of Education and the County Council to implement this new school governance structure. 
·         Net Taxable Income: The General Assembly also fixed the Net Taxable Income calculation formula.  Since the federal government changed the deadline for filing tax returns granted extensions, the relative wealth of a jurisdiction has been artificially undercounted to the detriment of Prince George’s County.  The General Assembly corrected this which will result in the County receiving an additional $2.5 million dollars this year and after a five year phase-in, an additional $12.5 million in revenue will be available for K-12 education in the County.
·         Funding for School Construction: The County will receive $29.3 million for school construction and rehabilitation projects. Additional school construction funding will likely be approved by the Board of Public Works later this spring.

PUBLIC SAFETY:

·         Abolishment of the Death Penalty:  County Executive Baker played an active role in testifying and lobbying for passage of this bill.  Throughout his and Prince George’s County’s First Lady, Christa Beverly Baker’s political careers, they have been strong advocates for the abolishment of the death penalty.
·         9-1-1 Surcharge: Establishes that the surcharge on wireless telecommunication services applies to prepaid service and establishes the amount of the prepaid wireless 9-1-1 fee at 60 cents per each retail transaction to increase funding to vital first responder services. The bill levels an inequity that had allowed prepaid wireless phone users to avoid having to contribute to funding for emergency services.
  
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:

·         Transportation Funding : Statewide, the legislation will raise an average of $800 million annually, and is projected to support more than 8,800 jobs each year over a five-year period. During that five-year period, the package will generate an additional $3.4 billion for Maryland highway and transit projects leading to the construction of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transportation projects of importance to Prince George’s County including the Purple Line and long neglected road projects throughout the County.
·         PILOT: Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for specific Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) taxes authorizes the M-NCPPC to enter into an agreement with the owner of an electric generating facility in Prince George’s County. The bill also requires the affirmative approval of the terms of a PILOT by the County Executive, County Council, and the Planning Board of Prince George’s County.

 HEALTHCARE

·         Regional Medical Center: Ensured State’s commitment to the share of funding for the new Regional Medical Center to be built in Central Prince George’s County, as well as continuation of the State’s $15 million annual operating grant and the final $10 million installment in capital funds for infrastructure improvements to existing facilities.
·         Establishment of Alzheimer’s Disease Council: To continue the work initiated by the Maryland Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission.

BUDGET

For the upcoming fiscal year, the County will receive more than $1.1 billion in total operating and capital funding from the State - an increase of almost 7% from last year.  Some of the highlights include: 
·         $3.3 million school security initiative to make our schools safer and resistant to violent attacks
·         $500,000 for State’s Attorney for prosecution of violent crimes
·         $3.2 million for municipalities for transportation (separate grant in budget)
·         $19.6 million in police aid

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