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2016 Legislative Priorities

MML Membership Approves 2016 Legislative Priorities

At the 2015 fall conference in Annapolis, the League membership voted to approve two issues as legislative priorities during the 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly:

Full Funding of Municipal Highway User Revenues

For the seventh year in a row, the MML membership adopted the restoration of Highway User Revenues as a top League priority. The League endorsed a commitment to work with the General Assembly and Administration to restore these important transportation funds to ensure predictable, stable funding into the future.

Cities and towns maintain nearly 3,000 miles of road in Maryland. Municipalities are the urban centers and economic engines of the state. This means municipal roads are more heavily travelled than others around the State.

Combined with a lack of revenue-raising options and the fact that municipalities will absorb most of the future growth and development around the state, municipal governments are now in a uniquely difficult position. Our cities and towns are simply no longer able to bear the costs of maintaining their transportation infrastructure alone without returning to a fair and stable state-shared revenue source.

Protection of Local Program Open Space Monies

Program Open Space (POS) provides dedicated funds for State and local parks and conservation areas. The goal of the program is to expedite the acquisition of conservation and scenic areas to avoid permanent forfeiture of such land due to unaffordable land prices and development.

  • Local governments may use POS funding for land acquisition and the development of park and recreation facilities. Since the program’s inception in 1969, over 6,100 individual county and municipal parks and conservation areas have been established.

  • When a person buys a house or land, a percentage of the state real estate transfer tax goes into a special fund for POS. Municipalities receive POS funding through their counties.

  • Over the past 25 years, there have been multiple instances where POS monies have been used to balance the State budget in difficult economic times.

  • As recently as FY 2013, $21 million in local POS funding was diverted to pay for the operation of State parks.

  • In 2014, there was an effort to divert local POS funds to cover stormwater remediation efforts by the State Highway Administration.

The League will join with other stakeholders to support the full funding of local Program Open Space program monies in the FY 2017 State budget.