The Maryland legislature ended its 90-day session Monday, and the bills that did not get passed received as much attention as those that did.
Lawmakers ended the session without a broad deal on the budget, forcing the legislature to approve a so-called "doomsday" budget that called for more than $500 million in cuts.
The big issues in the Odenton and Severn area involved transportation and schools, while residents were also keeping an eye on legislation that might have impacted the casino at Arundel Mills.
Here's a summary of what the General Assembly did or didn't pass, and how it might impact us locally.
Transportation and Taxes
Business leaders in the state, including those west Anne Arundel County, pushed for an increase in the flat gas tax to help pay for road upgrades and other transportation improvements. This was an especially big issue around here due to the growth of employment at Fort Meade.
Gov. Martin O’Malley had proposed adding sales tax to the gas tax, and also presented plans for a simple 1-cent increase in the statewide sales tax.
But the session ended Monday with no agreement on a gas tax or any other measure to provide additional money for transportation.
Lawmakers now say there might be a special session to address the budget. It’s unclear whether money for transportation would be part of the conversation.
The legislature worked until the final hour on a bill that would set up a referendum for a sixth casino license in Prince George’s County and to allow for table games at all casinos. This would impact the new Maryland Live! complex at Arundel Mills, which is set to open this summer with thousands of slot machines and electronic table games. The bill was passed by the Senate, but died in the House.
It’s impossible to determine the specific impacts on schools right here in Odenton and Severn, but we do know that the so-called “doomsday” budget that lawmakers passed does call for significant cuts in education spending. According to figures released by the governor’s office, the budget calls for a $4.46 million cut to education funding in Anne Arundel County in fiscal year 2013. The county board of education has requested an operating budget of more than $986 million, and a capital budget of about $198 million
The legislature did approve changes to the “maintenance of effort” law that would close some loopholes and also allow counties to raise property taxes if the money were to go to schools.
Patch is currently working on a broader story on the state budget's impact to schools, so stay tuned.