News you can Use -- Assembly crossover, gas tax holiday and other buzzwords


Here is News you can Use for this week (it’s mostly last week’s news, of course):

  • Crossover day in the Assembly session, with highlights and movement on the $58b budget;
  • news about money with a gas tax holiday and how it might or might not help; other tax changes;
  • news about possibly dirty money from big corporadoes happy to buy more laws;
  • what budget good news means in two big counties, and for whom;
  • and at the federal level, progressives eye the gridlock in Congress and tell Biden: time for executive orders.

All that and more in this week’s News you can Use roundup.



 

Here is News you can Use for this week (it’s mostly last week’s news, of course):

  • Crossover day in the Assembly session, with highlights and movement on the $58b budget;
  • news about money with a gas tax holiday and how it might or might not help; other tax changes;
  • news about possibly dirty money from big corporadoes happy to buy more laws;
  • what budget good news means in two big counties, and for whom;
  • and at the federal level, progressives eye the gridlock in Congress and tell Biden: time for executive orders.

All that and more in this week’s News you can Use roundup.

First in the Assembly and state government:

>Maryland Legislative Coalition Assembly landscape for Crossover Day – asks and tasks

>And the Job Opportunities Task Force has a plea to back a bill that will stop Maryland’s piling on of criminalizing poverty when it comes to how to get to and keep a job.

 

SENATE OKs $58.5B BUDGET WITH PAID FAMILY LEAVE PROGRAM: The Maryland Senate approved a $58.5 billion budget plan on Friday morning that would increase temporary cash assistance payments, fund the launch of a state paid family leave program, steer $700 million in cash surplus to government construction projects, and provide a planned $350 million in tax breaks — though lawmakers are still inking a deal on what form the tax relief would take. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.

The prospect of paid family leave for employees in Maryland has been debated among lawmakers in Annapolis for at least a decade — a span in which working groups were formed, studies were commissioned, bills were introduced and bills failed. This year, two years into a pandemic that has exposed the fragility of the nation’s workforce, advocates believed they saw an opening. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER PUSHES ‘ASTROTURF’ DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT: An influential legislator is taking aim at what he considers “astroturf” lobbying by large government contractors. Under a measure sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) and 14 others, companies with million-dollar state government contracts would be required to disclose contributions they make to advocacy organizations. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.

MO CO, PG FOCUS FUNDS ON LOW-INCOME AID, CLIMATE, POLICE: Buoyed by hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Covid pandemic relief, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) and Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) proposed annual budgets Tuesday that would add support for low-income residents, boost investment in climate initiatives and expand police resources amid an uptick in violent crime. Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason/The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the rowdy transportation aggregator StreetsBlog chimes in with the focused transportation element in a Green New Deal.

One big factor in climate-oriented economic development is mass transit, recovering from the crushing passage of COVID. Yay! Hagerstown gets a 500-job boost, a $70 million Hitachi plant for building Metro’s next fleet of rail cars

POLL: MARYLANDERS SEE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE: A majority of Marylanders believe climate change is having major impacts — inducing more extreme weather events, harming wildlife and raising sea levels — according to a new poll from Goucher College. Scott Dance/The Baltimore Sun.

DRIVERS ARE CHANGING HABITS AS GAS TAX HOLIDAY BECOMES LAW: Maryland drivers are reporting gas costs are forcing them to make tough decisions about how they spend their money, from travel to fuel purchases to recreation. Joe Ryan for the Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

State tax officials threaten gas stations that don’t drop prices – Maryland Matters reported over the weekend that Peter V.R. Franchot (D), Maryland’s chief tax collector, said on Friday that “the hammer” will fall on gas station owners who fail to lower fuel prices during the state’s 30-day gas tax “holiday.”

“The hammer is going to come down, because we’re not going to tolerate it,” said Franchot, the state’s four-term comptroller and a candidate for governor. “We have the authority to take their license away.”

LEADERS LOOK AT ELIMINATING RETIREE INCOME TAX: Lawmakers are close to an agreement on eliminating the state income tax for retirees. There is $350 million in tax relief in the state budget bill, which is now on the Senate floor. David Collins/WBAL TV

RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA BILLS NEED TO BE RECONCILED: With less than a month left in the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are deliberating how to reconcile three different legislative efforts that look to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Hannah Ziegler/The Diamondback

GOP RECRUITING SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES: Republicans are recruiting candidates for nonpartisan school board races in places such as Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties, where at least 17 seats are up for election. They are rallying around opposing mask mandates but also social issues in education like sexual orientation and identity and teaching about race. Lillian Reed and Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Sun 

HOGAN OPENS SOME STATE JOBS TO THOSE LACKING 4-YEAR COLLEGE DEGREE: Some state government jobs will no longer require applicants to have a four-year college degree under a new initiative announced by Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday to expand job opportunities. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.

THE FEDS – action in Congress and the Biden administration; magnifying glass not included

From Megan Essaheb at People’s Action: “According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is embracing efforts to reduce the deficit in order to get Senator Joe Manchin on board with the bill formerly known as Build Back Better. Biden is already taking credit for reducing the deficit: “A sharp decline in federal spending for pandemic programs and an increase in tax revenue tied to an improving U.S. employment landscape have combined to reduce the deficit this fiscal year, which began in October, economists have said.” As we said last week, Biden [in his latest Manchin-adjusted BBB bill] is looking at simply increasing taxes on the rich, drug pricing reforms and splitting the cost savings on climate investments and reducing the deficit. However, many advocates and Democrats are not giving up on the child tax credit and doing something on childcare arguing there is plenty of money to both make that investment and reduce the deficit. We can and should message the Child Tax Credit as a way to deliver relief to families facing higher rent, food and gas prices."

Over the weekend: The Congressional Progressive Caucus has rounded up and presented to the Biden Administration a list of the issues Biden can tackle through executive orders while Congress remains gridlocked.


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