News from Annapolis
Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
February 23, 2021
  • Education Part VII: Later this week.
  • Making Telework a Workplace Option
  • Tyranny of the Majority.....
  • SB 218 seeks to award Earned Income Credits
............. to "Undocumented Workers"
  • Maryland one of only 12 states with top scores from all three Bond Rating Agencies!
  • Legislation Updates
  • Tips on Testifying
  • District 9: Bragging Rights
  • Kittleman Legislative Scholarship
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Recently, I have been hearing from my readers that they would like to hear some good news. That's a fair request, and therefore, this newsletter includes a smattering of good news.

I can share (surprising) good news for Maryland on the financial front: we're better than 38 other states!

And during this past week, we experienced a unique moment when democracy worked! (See discussion of HB 73, below)
Making Telework a workplace option
HB-73: Appropriations Subcommittee on Personnel finds a way to cooperate to pass a good bill
Last week, as you may recall, I wrote about HB-73, the Teleworking bill. I wrote that "taking advantage of our recent experience with teleworking, this bill, as originally written, encouraged private-sector employers to develop and implement telework policies."

What a good idea, I thought.

I further noted that the bill established the intent of the General Assembly to authorize a tax credit to assist private-sector employers in offsetting the costs incurred for the development and implementation of a telework policy, if federal funds are made available for that purpose.

Another good idea, to be sure to make use of available federal funds.

However, when the bill was assigned to my Appropriations Personnel Subcommittee, it had already been amended to include, among other things, $1 million of mandated annual spending!

So I wrote: "WHY? Why does the government always think it has to force businesses and individuals to do the "right thing? Here we have broad proof that businesses, both large and small, have come up with creative ideas to cope with the COVID restrictions, and have been pleasantly surprised to learn that we actually get more work done when we don't have to commute!"

The reason I have quoted myself so extensively is to show what happened next. The private businesses had a big problem with the bill -- with the way it was drafted and the onerous burden they felt it would create. We also did not like the mandated spending. So the Chair of the Subcommittee and one of the ranking members of the minority began to negotiate. Back and forth, for several days, trying to find common ground.

Lo and behold, on the final day, the Dems agreed to take private businesses out of the bill. But the $1 million mandate stayed. That's called a compromise. The bill passed out of our very bipartisan subcommittee unanimously, and was passed by the full committee. There is no doubt it will pass the house and be sent to the Senate.

The only question that remains: will the Senate honor our compromise version? Or will the Senate insist on keeping the bill as it was? Let's hope the compromise we reached was real, and not merely a chimera, to be swept away by the tidal wave of the supermajority's collective voting power.
HB-655: Comments lead to heated exchange
In the most tyrannical act I have witnessed in this House of Delegates, the Democrat Super-Majority (representing the urban and suburban jurisdictions in the center of the State) chose to force a change in how five rural Commissioner counties conduct their local voting.

The House of Delegates will continue debate later this week on a bill that would change the way some Maryland counties elect their commissioners.

The debate grew heated on the House floor Tuesday, as lawmakers considered whether to change election rules for five counties where district-based commissioners are elected by county-wide votes.

Currently, and for many, many years, Garrett, St. Mary's, Charles, Calvert & Queen Annes counties have elected district-based commissioners by county-wide votes. Thus each election district in the county has it
's own, locally-based commissioner, that person has been elected by all the voters in that county.

Each of these counties has found this system to "represent the unique needs of our community," as Delegate Wendell Beitzel said of Garrett County. These five counties are small, compared to the urban/suburban counties. St. Mary's has the largest population of the group, with 112,290; the smallest is Garrett, with just 29,234 residents. (To see the most recent population numbers for each jurisdiction in Maryland, click here.)

To understand the depth and breadth of the communications gap between these different regions of our State, take a moment to listen:
Bill Sponsor Introduces HB 655
This one-minute segment of testimony as bill sponsor, Delegate Brian Crosby, explains why the bill is "needed."
Delegate Matt Morgan argues against the bill
In this 3-minute clip, this St. Mary's County delegate argues passionately for the urban-suburban power cabal to recognize the differences among the counties and to give "local courtesy" to the more rural counties to make this kind of decision.
Watching these two clips may give you the sense of why the members of the minority party feel so disenfranchised. Why is it that whenever we disagree on an issue, why is your first argument almost always to impune our motives? It's not right!
SB 218 seeks to award Earned Income Credits to "Undocumented Workers"
The an letter below is from a good friend who left Maryland after over 40 years and now lives in Florida. I am including it in the newsletter because so many of my constituents express similar sentiments about Maryland's political climate.
"Wonderment! In my heart I still have lot’s of affection for Maryland. I spent over twenty years in my still beloved Howard County and another near twenty years in Anne Arundel County. Both terrific counties and marvelous people."

"In 2017 we resolved to leave Maryland when the House of Delegates passed 80 to 50 (+/-) legislation mandating Maryland become a Sanctuary State.  With minimal time remaining in the session the Senate did not make a final judgment on the House-passed legislation. The fact that such outrageous legislation could pass so overwhelmingly was very difficult for us to comprehend. 
"In an essentially overnight decision we decided to evacuate Maryland because we were concerned about the impact of ‘sanctuaries’ future legislation. Within sixty days we sold out our beautiful Spa Creek home location and moved into a new home in Naples, Florida.
"A few days ago an Annapolis friend sent me a Facebook note announcing he came down to Florida for a short vacation and was amazed how open and free the Floridan’s were re life behavior in a “COVID-19“ world. He mentioned that he had heard about Florida’s open dining, and attached a couple of photo’s of folks at a bar/restaurant with no one wearing masks which he said was the first time he saw “their version” of social distancing (NOT). . . .
"I responded to him, “Freedom. . . Life to be enjoyed.” . . .
"Everyone is welcome in Fla. so long as they don’t bring their old failed politics with them. You’ll love NO taxation on your income or on your estate, and your kids will appreciate their full inheritance with Love and Thank You’s for being a Florida resident….
"Conservatives demand Freedoms as guaranteed in our constitution and Bill of Rights. The People are in charge not the Politicians or the Bureaucrats. Our Governor is a real leader and is currently developing legislation to correct their High Tech Industries monopolistic behavior.   
"I could go on and on but I’m sure you know the story and that is why your fight to Open Schools is so important to the children of today. The unfortunate part of the fight is that your cause does not have a chance to succeed is Maryland because of the lop sided political demographics of government. I’ve always admired the Howard County Kittlemans because of their undying fight to shed light on what should be vs. what is? 
"All the Best to you as you try to blaze “what’s best” for Maryland!  Fortunately, as hard as it was to leave Maryland after forty (40) years, it was a lot easier as a [his last name] to leave vs. a Kittleman with Historic connections to the State of Maryland.” 
SB 218 seeks to award Earned Income Credits to "Undocumented Workers"
Too Good to be True
A week ago, the Democrat Legislature and the Republican Governor were able to get past partisan politics and agree on a RELIEF bill to bring much-needed financial aid to our struggling Marylanders.

That bill was almost derailed by a last-minute amendment offered by Senate progressives to make the state's Earned Income Credit program available to undocumented aliens. This Federal program requires an individual to have a social security number to qualify for the Earned Income Credit.

Roughly 80,000 people in Maryland are unable to qualify to get a social security number (SSN), primarily because they are not citizens. In order to allow these residents the ability to pay taxes, the federal government issues them something called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). There are about 80,000 Marylanders with ITINs. The amendment being pushed by the progressives simply authorized holders of an ITIN to qualify for EIT credit from the State.

Fortunately, the more sensible (and savvy) Democrats were able to suppress the amendment, thus allowing the bill to have the unanimous support of both Democrats and Republicans.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the ousted amendment returned as a stand-alone bill, SB 218. And just as expected, the Senate passed the bill. 
The House version of the bill is currently making its way through committee and onto the floor, and you can keep track of that here, but it's very likely to pass and arrive at Governor Hogan's desk.
Maryland one of only 12 states with top scores from all three Bond Rating Agencies!
The higher a state’s credit rating, the lower the cost to repay its bonds. For investors, meanwhile, high ratings signal that the state can and will meet its financial obligations to pay both interest and principal.

“AAA is the best you can get," said the Governor of Utah, one of the 12 top-rated states. “It may not mean much to the average citizen, but it does have an impact on their wallet.”
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."
--Thomas Jefferson
"Maryland Paint Stewardship:" a/k/a The PAINT TAX
House Bill 127 would establish a new Paint Stewardship Program (the “Program”). This program will enable the paint manufacturing industry to develop and implement a postconsumer paint management system for the collection, reuse, recycling, and proper disposal of leftover household paint.
The program will help prevent left-over paint from landfills, and relieve counties and municipalities of this burden. The plan must, among other things, minimize public sector participation in the management of postconsumer paint.  In other words, the bill shifts the burden of disposing of paint (and paying for such disposal) from the counties to the consumer.

There is a new fee being charged to producers as well as a direct tax to consumers. The proposed legislation requires producers to pay a fee to MDE to cover the costs of plan review, review of annual reports, and conducting associated compliance oversight. The estimated cost to the producer ranges from approximately $5 to $10, per gallon collected.

In the District of Columbia and the ten states with stewardship programs, the assessment to the consumer is set between $0.75 and $0.99 for a 1-gallon container of paint.
This 12-page bill sets up an entirely new program with complicated rules and regulations. Laws are not supposed to require a PhD to understand them! Indeed, the bill’s sponsors admit that an important requirement to making the program work is the ability to “educate the consumer.”
MANY counties already have a paint recycling program in place. Thus this new paint tax is going to pay for a program we may already be paying for in our county taxes. It’s no wonder the counties like the program. It will save them money.  
Like my fellow Republicans, I support reusing and recycling as much as we can and taking steps to conserve the environment. But why does government seem always to make everything so complicated, overreaching, and expensive? This bill is just another example.
District 9A
District 9 has a lot to brag about: its Tops in State schools, its Top Places to Live (Sykesville); It's Top Response to the 2020 Census, etc. Below, we found another reason to brag :) DID YOU KNOW . . .
  • District 9 is one of the very few that has a Bi-Partisan Delegation
  • DISTRICT 9 is the ONLY one of the 47 Districts that has a MAJORITY of WOMEN MEMBERS
Legislative Scholarship
District 9-A Residents
High school seniors, current undergraduate students at a 4-year college, a community college, or a private career school are eligible to apply for a Legislative Scholarship.
Please EMAIL your applications to Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
For questions regarding the application process, call my Annapolis office and speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy, my Legislative Aide, at 410-841-3556.