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NEWS
By Samuel Goldreich and Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer | March 7, 1991
County Executive Robert R. Neall has quietly decided on a bookkeeping trick that would pour millions of dollars into Anne Arundel cofferswithout raising taxes.The administration wants to keep all real estate transfer taxes for the general fund and stop sharing the revenue with the Department of Utilities.The 30 percent share of the money given to utilities was slightlyless than $4.8 million last year and $5.1 million in fiscal year 1989. But the revenue could grow substantially once the county recovers from the recession and real estate activity increases.
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NEWS
October 6, 2014
This fall, Maryland voters will have a constitutional amendment on the ballot of interest to all state residents, taxpayers and drivers: Question 1, which will create a "lockbox" for state transportation funds. The amendment language states: "Transportation Trust Funds may be used for non-transportation related purposes or transferred to the general fund or a special fund only if the Governor declares a fiscal emergency and the General Assembly approves legislation, by a three-fifths vote of both houses, concurring with the use or transfer of the funds.
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NEWS
By Nicole Fuller and Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com | January 17, 2010
Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen has redirected funding from a city-financed cultural exchange into the city's general fund, citing an estimated $6.5 million budget deficit. Cohen said he has redirected the $27,500 remaining in the account of the Sister Cities program into the general fund for this fiscal year. "Now is not the time to be spending $27,500 on the Sister Cities program when we are struggling even to fund essential services," Cohen said. The mayor also has convened a group of community stakeholders to review the program, which in recent years, under former Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, has come under scrutiny by some City Council members as a waste of city resources.
NEWS
September 15, 2014
A proposed state constitutional amendment creating a firewall for the Transportation Trust Fund will be on the ballot this fall, and while the legislation is flawed, it deserves voter support. The legislation (Senate Bill 829 of 2013) received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The proposed amendment provides that transportation revenue can be transferred to the general fund only if the governor by executive order declares a fiscal emergency and the General Assembly by a three-fifths vote concurs.
NEWS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | November 30, 2011
Maryland Health Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein told two Senate committees Wednesday that the state has hired an outside consultant to help figure out how Maryland's Developmental Disabilities Administration failed to spend $25 million that had to be returned to the general fund. State officials told the Finance and Budget and Taxation Committees that there doesn't appear to be any criminal wrongdoing in the matter and that an employee appeared to be rolling over small surpluses over several years, although it is unclear for how long.
NEWS
By Marcia Myers and Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF | July 22, 1999
Members of a new gubernatorial commission say meeting Maryland's daunting transportation needs may require boosting the state's gas tax, sales tax and motor vehicle fees -- and even tapping into the general fund, which for years has been off-limits for transportation projects.The 30-member state Commission on Transportation Investment, which holds its first meeting in two weeks, will evaluate long-range transportation needs and recommend funding options in a report to Gov. Parris N. Glendening at the end of the year.
NEWS
By Marcia Myers and Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF | November 20, 1999
A state commission has found that, unless Maryland soon invests billions more dollars in its road, rail and bus systems, they'll be all but obsolete in 20 years.The state's almost $1 billion budget surplus might provide some money immediately, according to a report by the governor's Commission on Transportation Investment to be released Monday. But a more reliable, long-term source of funds -- such as increasing the state's gasoline tax, sales tax or both -- must be found by 2003, the report says.
NEWS
By Andrew A. Green and Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF | May 7, 2003
Although Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has proposed a bare-bones 2003-2004 budget with no tax or fee increases or major general government expansions, members of the fiscally conservative County Council said yesterday they're worried he is setting a dangerous precedent by using $18 million in surplus funds to balance the books. Other county executives are raising taxes and talking about possible layoffs. But in Baltimore County, where maintaining a AAA bond rating might as well be the 11th Commandment, the idea of using rainy-day funds to pay for a 2.3 percent increase in general fund spending has the budget hawks worried.
BUSINESS
By Kristine Henry and Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF | August 22, 2002
Higher automobile and motorcycle insurance and surcharges on traffic tickets are two of the options lawmakers are studying as they look for ways to compensate the surgeons who staff the state's shock trauma centers. House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. held a meeting yesterday with several legislators and officials from various shock trauma facilities to discuss the recent closure of the trauma center at Washington County Health System in Hagerstown. They are looking for ways to reopen the Hagerstown facility as well as address the funding issues that centers across the state are facing.
NEWS
By a Baltimore Sun reporter | July 16, 2010
A state home for developmentally disabled adults improperly kept nearly $80,000 that it should have returned to the state general fund at the end of fiscal year 2009, the Office of Legislative Audits reported Friday. The state Department of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene, which operates the Potomac Center in Hagerstown, has agreed to return the $79,800 to the general fund, according to a letter signed by Secretary John M. Colmers and included in the OLA report. Auditors for OLA, an agency of the Department of Legislative Services, found that the Potomac Center did not have adequate records to substantiate expenditures it had accrued June 30, 2009, the last day of the fiscal year.
NEWS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2014
A proposed amendment to Maryland's constitution that would prevent funding diversions from the state's Transportation Trust Fund has been finalized — ready for voters to decide its fate in November. John P. McDonough, Maryland's secretary of state, certified the language of the proposed amendment last week. It will appear on Nov. 4 ballots as "Question 1. " The so-called "lockbox" amendment was pushed through late in last year's legislative session, and is aimed at preventing the trust fund — bolstered by the state's new gas tax — from being depleted for state needs unrelated to transportation.
NEWS
February 7, 2014
Regarding your recent editorial on plans to divert state employees' pension savings to the state's general fund, The Sun is, as usual, a little late to the party in criticizing Gov. Martin O'Malley for actions "potentially harmful to Maryland's fiscal health" ( "Broken promises," Feb. 4). Where have you been the last six years? Thomas F. McDonough, Towson - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
NEWS
February 4, 2014
In 2011, Maryland's state government was facing significant budget challenges in both the short term and the long term. The lingering effects of the recession and the waning of federal stimulus funds had blown a hole of about $1.6 billion in the state's general fund budget for the next year. And the stock market crash coupled with a history of under-investment had caused a precipitous drop in the levels of funding for the state's employee pension systems, meaning big liabilities for the state in the decades ahead.
NEWS
January 26, 2014
Call it what you like, the proposal to charge 10-cents for plastic bags is a tax on the people of Baltimore ( "Shoppers in city may see 10-cent bag fee," Jan 21). As for Councilman Brandon Scott's comment, "This is a good step for us to be a sustainable city moving forward," how are we going to accomplish this by charging 10 cents a bag? If you are serious about this, councilman, then flat out ban the bags. Oh, wait a minute, if you do that, the city loses $1.5 million, half of which goes into the mysterious "General Fund.
NEWS
By Mark Newgent | January 16, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley released his fiscal year 2015 budget this week, and once again he made his long used but false claim that he has cut the state budget. The budget when Mr. O'Malley's first took office was $28.8 billion, according to the Department of Legislative Services; his latest proposal would spend $39.2 billion. The back of the envelope math tells us the budget has grown by $10.4 billion - an increase of roughly 36 percent. The legislature can cut from his proposal. Where are the cuts?
NEWS
January 15, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley's final budget proposal leaves the state on a sounder fiscal footing than when he took office seven years ago. Though he will not bequeath his successor anything close to the hefty fund balance his predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., left for him, he will also not saddle the next governor with anything like the projected billion-dollar annual budget shortfalls he faced. And Mr. O'Malley has generally resisted the urge to lard up the election year budget with unaffordable goodies that will help his allies at the ballot box. That said, his final spending plan avoids some of the hard decisions that will ultimately be needed to eliminate for good the state's gap between expenditures and revenues, and it continues a pattern that will limit the next governor's ability to cut taxes or expand services.
NEWS
By Andrew A. Green and Andrew A. Green,Sun reporter | April 17, 2007
An advisory commission is recommending that the state's portion of the property tax remain at 11.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, despite warnings from Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp that without a tax increase, Maryland's projected budget deficit will grow worse. The Commission on State Debt, made up of Kopp, Comptroller Peter Franchot, three members of the O'Malley administration and a member of the public, is required annually to recommend a rate for the state property tax.
NEWS
November 23, 1991
More than 70 Howard County firefighters gathered outside County Executive Charles I. Ecker's third-floor office yesterday to protest his attempt to furlough them.Mr. Ecker wants to furlough all county employees for five days to shave $1 million from the county budget's $7.5 million deficit.Sean Kelly, president of the Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 2000, says firefighters should be exempt from furloughs because their salaries come from a special fire tax instead of the general fund, so furloughs would not ease the county's deficit.
NEWS
By Mark Newgent | December 26, 2013
In a couple of weeks, state legislators will gather in Annapolis for the annual circus that is the Maryland General Assembly's legislative session. Given that 2014 is also an election year, the show will be even more entertaining, or depressing, depending on your point of view. For 90 days between January and April, issues like raising the minimum wage, the rain tax, marijuana legalization (pot for tots) will suck up a lot of oxygen. However, the only requirement our legislators must fulfill is passing a balanced budget - something they just can't seem to get right.
NEWS
April 11, 2013
I would like to add some points to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's column "How the welfare state has grown" (April 7). Mr. Ehrlich fails to mention the fact that every president since Lyndon Johnson, beginning in 1964, has raided the Social Security Trust Fund and transferred the money to the government's general fund to pay for the country's wars and for the campaign promises they made to their constituents in order to get re-elected. He also failed to mention that President Ronald Reagan called upon Congress in the early 1980s to increase Social Security contributions because he claimed the system was going broke.
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