Up the Street
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ANNAPOLIS?
Spending Affordability Committee Receives Fiscal Update
The General Assembly’s Spending Affordability Committee met and received a briefing from the Department of Legislative Services that provides a fiscal update for the state. The Committee exists to make recommendations to the governor and Legislative Policy Committee on the fiscal goals the next General Assembly session should aim to meet. The Spending Affordability Committee is scheduled to meet in December 2012 for a decision meeting on final recommendations for the 2013 legislative session.
Highlights of the DLS briefing included:
- Significant progress in reducing the $2 billion structural deficit of the state budget from three years ago to a structural deficit of $247 million for fiscal year 2014.
- Proposed increase of $96 million in state funding for education under the Thornton formula.
- Proposed increase of $97.5 million is the state’s contribution for the teachers’ pension and retirement plan.
- Modest economic recovery with projected growth in state revenues of $180 million or 2.7%.
- Concern with Federal Budget Control Act Sequester (the federal budget fiscal cliff). If Congress does not find a solution to the federal deficit, the Act requires $984 billion in cuts over federal fiscal years 2013 to 2021. Maryland would face an immediate first year cut of $117 million.
Unrelated to the DLS briefing, but directly related to the question of federal sequestration and the fiscal cliff, NEA and MSEA are preparing leaders and members to take action during the “Lame Duck” session of Congress, this November-January, to stave off potentially devastating cuts.
Get to Know You” Interviews Provide a Potential 2014 Preview
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Delegate Heather Mizeur, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman each participated in a “Get to Know You” type interview with President Weller during last week’s MSEA convention. Each interview lasted about 10 minutes and all five guests were asked about their vision for Maryland, their history collaborating with MSEA, and to identify an influential educator in their life. You can view all of the interviews on MSEA’s YouTube channel.
MSEA FUND FOR CHILDREN AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
Check out the new MSEA Fund PAC organizing page. If you missed the convention, but have heard the talk about PAC Ninjas, watch this video and join with thousands of other MSEA members so we “Don’t Fight Alone.”
Early Voting: Saturday, October 27 – Thursday, November 1
Record turnout is expected this year, making early voting an attractive option to avoid lines on Tuesday, November 6. Early voting runs from October 27-November 1. Early voting centers will be open from 10 am until 8 pm each day of early voting except on Sunday, when early voting centers will be open 12 pm to 6 pm. Click here to learn more about early voting and to find the early voting centers in your county.
MSEA has been communicating with members on the importance of supporting ballot Question 4 (Maryland DREAM Act) and 6 (Marriage Equality) in material that will be arriving before Election Day. See below for more information on Questions 4 and 6 and how you can help in the final days of the election.
- FOR Question 4: Public Institutions of Higher Education – Tuition Rates
Maryland Dream Act (Educating Maryland Kids)
Question 4 and the Maryland Dream Act is about fairness. Supporting Question 4 allows children who graduate from Maryland high schools and whose families have filed income taxes to be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates to attend Maryland colleges. Help MSEA support passage of this ballot measure by volunteering to help us get the word out to members and voters.
- FOR Question 6: Civil Marriage Protection Act
Marriage Equality (Marylanders for Marriage Equality)
MSEA supports Question 6 and is working to defend Maryland’s Civil Marriage Equality Law. This issue of equal rights and fairness impacts the lives of MSEA members and students in every school system in the state. MSEA is organizing members interested in this issue to work with the Marriage Equality campaign.