Welcome to another legislative year. It remains my privilege to represent you and I encourage you to write to me at Geraldine.Valentino@house.state.md.us to share your priorities, questions or concerns for this legislative session.
The budget was released this week. I sit on the Appropriations Committee and will have many hours of hearings on the budget. The Budget Process is long and will be reviewed and approved by both Houses before the end of the legislative session in April. The Maryland Constitution sets the guidelines for the state budget and specifically states that the General Assembly can reduce or restrict money in the budget, but the legislature may not add to the operating budget or move money from one program to another. The Governor must be directly contacted by you if you have concerns about him not funding certain programs like mental health and developmental disability providers, whose rates were slashed from the scheduled 3.5% increase we passed last session.
Changes at the federal level will have large impacts on the state of Maryland. The revenue estimates supporting the fiscal 2019 budget were developed prior to enactment of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Comptroller's Office is expected to release an analysis of the impact of the federal legislation on Maryland revenues next week. If Congress fails to re-authorize the Children's Health Program (CHIP), the state will also need to address this large gap.
K-12 education formulas are fully funded with an additional $15.2 million of discretionary funds which go to Baltimore City, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil and Garrett counties. We will be advocating that the Governor address historical inadequacy in funding for Prince George's County schools. Please know that I will continue my fight for strategies that will help Prince George's address our looming capital deficiencies regarding older school buildings.
I encourage you to explore the Maryland General Assembly Website. It can be found here: it is very interactive and allows you to watch hearings live or after they have occurred, which can be very enlightening. You can listen to the chamber sessions as well. There is a trove of documents to explore. For those of you who wish more information on the budget, I have listed a few of the most helpful documents below.
The bill request deadline is next week and I will share more with you next week regarding my specific initiatives for this session. In the meantime, I encourage you to click on the website and read a little about what is happening in Annapolis for 2018.
Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A
Delegate page on Facebook
Many of the documents below can be found on the General Assembly's website, under the "Publications" tab. I have highlighted a few documents here but you can see the entire list here.
- 90 Day Report. Published by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) after the end session, this report summarizes all the major accomplishments during the session - including a detailed discussion of the operating and capital budgets.
- Volume IV of the Maryland Legislative Handbook Series-Maryland Budget Process