Up the Street
The week that was in Annapolis
Issue of the Week: Budget and Pension Negotiations Begin
The Maryland State Senate passed their version of the budget (HB 70) and budget reconciliation act (BRFA, HB 72) on Tuesday night. The issues encompassed in both bills are now in a conference committee that will ultimately determine what pension reforms and other overall state spending will be included in the FY12 budget.
The budget and BRFA conferees started negotiations on Thursday and will continue until agreement is reached. The General Assembly sets the 83rd day of session as the target date for passing the budget. If they are to stay on schedule to hit that target, it will be Monday, April 4.
News and Notes
Superintendent Nancy Grasmick Announces Her Retirement
Effective June 30, 2011, Nancy Grasmick is retiring from her position of nearly 20 years as State Superintendent of Schools. The next Superintendent will be selected by the State Board of Education.
Increasing the Alcohol Tax
The Senate approved SB 994, an increase in the sales tax on alcohol from 6%-9% phased in over the next three years. This revenue bill generates $30 million in the first year. The Senate allocates this money in their version of the budget by adding over $20 million to local education aid that benefits schools in Baltimore City, Prince George’s, Allegany, and Garrett counties. The remaining money is used to fund services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Public School Labor Relations Board Confirmed
The Senate Executive Nominations Committee confirmed the five members of the Public School Labor Relations Board. The Board is in place to resolve disputes between local boards of education and local associations within a specific time frame. Confirmed Labor Board members include Bob Chanin, Stuart Simms, Seymour Strongin, Donald Kopp, and Charles Ecker.
Keep the Promise Campaign
Urge Governor O’Malley to Adopt Our Pension Alternative. Call his office at (888) 216-PROMISE.
Call (888) 216-7766 to speak with Gov. O’Malley’s office and urge him to keep the promise to provide a sustainable pension system and retirement security!
We have had a very big push this week, and members have responded with over 6,300 emails in the last week. Encourage members to contact the budget committee conferees.