Sen. Manno Talks Special Session

Posted Date: 
May 18, 2012

From left to right: MCCC Director of Public Affairs Jonathan Sachs, Senator Roger Manno, MCCC Executive Vice President Barbara Ashe, Vice-Chair Josh Bokee, Comcast.

Committee Vice-Chair Josh Bokee welcomed the committee and introduced Maryland State Senator Roger Manno.

Senator Manno began by discussing economic projections, which shapes policy in Annapolis. As a result of the recession, the legislature has had to make tough choices regarding finding and revenue in light of economic issues in the State.

Although Maryland is required to pass a balanced budget, it ran a deficit as a result of controversial revenue decisions and unfounded programs in education and transportation. The legislature attempted to close the deficit in the 2007 special session, but this year they found a $2 billion structural deficit in the State budget. Still, the State holds a triple-A bond rating and had mechanisms to ensure its bond rating in the future. Last year, the General Assembly cut $900,000 from the budget. Manno believes that to close this gap, the State must take a balanced approach of cuts and revenue.

Senator Manno explained that the Governor’s budget in the 2012 session included a tax on high income earners, a teacher pension shift, and other controversial elements. Senator Manno tried to propose a fair method of sharing the burden the State needed for revenue. Manno suggested repealing the 1997 tax cut, which would impact earners from $3,000 and up. This plan would have fully closed the State deficit this year. This plan gained traction during the session in the Senate, but not as much in the House.

When the General Assembly could not reach agreement on the budget during the 2012 session, they did in a recent special session this week. Manno explained that the General Assembly for the most part enacted and agreed to the House plan.

Going forward, Manno recommends that the State should "flat-fund" Government in order to close its structural deficit because he feels State taxpayers have reached their emotional threshold for taxation and revenue raisers.

Manno discussed other legislation, which is a bill that passed giving $2 million for security clearance costs that he worked closely with the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce to pass. He also discussed gambling and believes that there should be another special session to consider its economic footprint at National Harbor.

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