Md. State House stock art

The desks of delegates on the House floor in the Statehouse in Annapolis.

The Maryland General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to a $44.5 billion budget.

The budget includes a 2.2 percent increase in spending over last year and more than $6.5 billion in funding for public education.

The state is also setting aside $41.6 million to improve school safety around the state, capping tuition increases at state public colleges at 2 percent and providing a 2 percent salary increase for state workers.

All of Frederick County’s General Assembly lawmakers voted in favor of the state budget, which passed near unanimously.

But more than three dozen lawmakers voted against a companion bill, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act, which outlined how an anticipated $547 million increase in state tax revenue as the result of federal tax reform would be spent.

That bill, which still passed with a supermajority, set aside $200 million for future education funding, about $100 million in savings and about $100 million in tax relief.

Some Republican lawmakers said the amount dedicated to tax relief should be higher.

Delegates Kathy Afzali (R-District 4) and William Folden (R-District 3B) voted against the companion bill.

But Democrats who control the Legislature say it’s uncertain what the federal overhaul’s impact will be on Maryland, and it’s too soon to enact a series of permanent tax cuts when the overall outcome is unknown.

Maryland lawmakers have said their attempts to change the state’s tax code to offset any increases as the result of federal reforms won’t be able to address every situation. About 9 percent of state taxpayers will pay more in state taxes as a result of the federal reforms.

The Maryland Senate approved a bill that increases the standard deduction that taxpayers can claim. House legislative leaders said Tuesday that they are still working on tax bills, negotiating an agreement with senators.

There are just under two weeks left in the legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 9.

Budget negotiators included in the capital budget one appropriation specific to Frederick: an $850,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development to the city of Frederick for the purchase of land and other infrastructure improvements for a proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick. The money would come from the state’s Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund. The budget amendment states that lawmakers will withhold $1 million of the Department of Housing and Community Development’s overall budget until the grant to the city of Frederick is released.

The operating budget takes effect as soon as it is passed by both chambers because the budget bill cannot be vetoed by the governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(24) comments

Jane and Ed

MISLEADING HEADLINE IN THE FREDERICK NEWS POST>

It's not actual money yet. In order for this State money to materialize the DHCD will have to award the City more grants after they apply for another Strategic Demolition Grant and get it.

The City has not held onto Strategic demo Grants because they are expiring.

A couple years ago the City had accumulated $850,000 worth of DHCD grants but last year the city lost a $500,000 grant when it expired. And this year on June 30th it will the lose the remaining $350,000 DHCD Grant.
The city is scrambling to get an extension on that.

And May 18th the City will probably apply for another chunk of the DHCD Grant.
What will Secretary Ken Holt of DHCD give Frederick with Richard Griffin making statements in public that he used the grant money to pay for Jones Lang LaSalle consultant studies when other counties are desperately trying to get a piece of this State grant for Land purchase in their authentically depressed areas? Did Griffin misuse these State grants?

It's not free State grant money in hand.
It seems like a pat on the head. The legislature knows this.

And if the City somehow manages to get $850,000 in DHCD Grants together this year, it must be 25% matched in City funds. That will not be nearly enough to buy the 3.7Million dollar former Frederick News Post property.

City always claiming to have money to spend on this and support for this when it doesn't. Taxpayer funds are being spent and we are on the hook.

#StopPuttingLipstickOnThePig

KellyAlzan

[thumbup][thumbup] thanks for keeping it real here. Much appreciated. Have a great weekend.[yawn]

mrnatural1

Frayou makes a good point (below).

There is no legitimate reason for the government to get involved financially with what should be a private business venture.

For an example of what happens when projects are funded with OPM, see the story of the indoor rainforest in an Iowa cornfield:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15061688/ns/us_news-environment/t/site-chosen-million-earthpark/#.WrwGVogbNPY

Quote:
"In addition to Earthpark's local funding, which will come primarily from a hotel-motel tax in Marion County, the Department of Energy has promised a $50 million grant, and the state is expected to allocate $15 to $20 million.

The remaining amount will come from debt financing, Oman said."

Project background is online at www.earthpark.org.

And for those interested in the entire saga, here: http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/politics/IaChild/

Luckily it eventually fell through -- but it came close to being built.

KellyAlzan

I need a new piece of excavating equipment. It will create jobs and tax revenue. Should I call Ronnie young to arrange funding?[spam]

gabrielshorn2013

This is an example of why Republicans pushed eliminating the state and local tax exemption from Federal income taxes. Some high tax states think it is acceptable have high tax rates, only to pi$$ away those tax dollars because their constituents can claim an exemption on their Federal taxes. This just spreads the tax burden on to other states. Taxpayers need to wake up and hold their representatives accountable for wasting their money on frivolous crap like this hotel. If it is such a good business deal, the investors should go it alone and take the normal business risks.

jerseygrl42

Even a "small grant" is a waste of taxpayer money, the Dems just love wasting other peoples hard earned $$$ shame on them! The City wants to buy the property and just wait till the abatement costs start rolling in

shiftless88

jersey, given the massive debt rung up by last week's federal budget passed by Republicans I don't think you can blame Dems in general.

mrnatural1

Both parties like to overspend, they just have different priorities.

DickD

If Hogan keeps his promise to Voght, this will be vetoed. If not, his chances of being re-elected are slim to none.

Burgessdr

This is budget bill. Cant be vetoed.

Burgessdr

^operating budget bill

KellyAlzan

why has the news story from last night been removed from easy visibility? the one that says the money isn't being given

Burgessdr

This is operating budget bill NOT capital budget.

bicep42

Why should the state contribute a dime of taxpayers' money to purchase property for a private business?
That makes zero sense 😬

Burgessdr

Because the property will be owned by the city and will generate 100s jobs and millions taxes for county and state.

KellyAlzan

So what. Then find someone who has their wine money.

shiftless88

Burgess, if this is such a great deal then why aren't private developers jumping at it? And if it is a boon to the county and city then why don't they just do the whole thing and reap all the benefits? It seems that the structure is set up so that the state/county/city supply a bunch of $$ and assume most of the risk while profit isn't guaranteed.

mrnatural1

Exactly! [thumbup][thumbup]

glenkrc

C'mon now. I see Burgess' logic: We need to spend money on the downtown area...so that we can generate jobs and more tax revenue...so that we have more money to spend on the downtown area.

KellyAlzan

most all businesses generate jobs. And tax revenue. So, the state should fund all businesses according to your mentality

Burgessdr

A robust growing economy is good. Unless one is a hillbilly living in the woods. Then one only needs a banjo.

Frayou

Still don’t understand Frederick County & City obsession with having this crystal palace built using tax funded grants. If this business is so important towards downtown economics, business organizations should be standing in line readily to want to invest. I’m concerned that this facility will not be able to support itself when built and County & City will eventually have to purchase when it fails.

Titanman123

I thought Michael O’Connor said he would get the money to build the hotel? Seems like he has failed...

Dwasserba

Oh no he's human

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.