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Governor Hogan Submits $47.9 Billion State Budget

 

The $47.9 billion state budget that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan submitted last week was well-received by lawmakers from both parties. Over the coming weeks, lawmakers will pore through the details of the budget. Gov. Larry Hogan said his newly proposed budget for FY 2021 shows fiscal responsibility without raising taxes and urged state lawmakers to curb spending in the legislative session.

“This budget funds all of the state’s top priorities while maintaining $1.3 billion in reserves and limiting budget growth to 1 percent without raising taxes, without cutting services and without raiding dedicated special funds,” Hogan said at a news conference at the State House.

Hogan called the proposal the “accountability budget” and said that, like the previous five budgets, the FY 2021 blueprint is “100 percent structurally balanced.”

Here are some highlights of the governor’s plan:


More Opportunities and Jobs for Marylanders

To help continue create new jobs in Maryland, the new budget makes the following allowances:

• Nearly $47 million to attract businesses and promote economic development in Maryland;

• $10 million in tax credits for companies that locate or expand in a Maryland Opportunity Zone--an incentive that will increase to $24 million through FY 2024; and

• More than $1 million to support programs like Main Street Improvement, Technical Assistance Grants, and Keep Maryland Beautiful, which help Maryland’s local governments and nonprofit organizations achieve their community revitalization and economic development goals.


Workforce Development
The Hogan administration has always been proud of the nationally recognized Employment Advancement Right Now (or “EARN”) program and its accomplishments in the field of workforce development. The governor’s budget expands upon these efforts by providing:

 

• $7.5 million for the EARN program, which supports innovative and industry-led workforce development initiatives across the state;

• $3 million for the state’s apprenticeship program, a new record;

• $2.5 million for the Cyber Warrior Diversity program to train students at the state’s historically black colleges and universities and at Baltimore City Community College in skills necessary for computer networking and cybersecurity careers;

• $2.1 million for the Baltimore City YouthWorks program, bolstering efforts to create job opportunities for Baltimore City youth to a new record level;

• $1 million to implement the new Qualified Workforce Housing Tax Credit for housing projects located within Opportunity Zones;

• A two-year, $1.2 million expansion of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Program, which leads to a new record level of funding of $1.9 million in FY 2021 to provide graduates with a high school diploma and a two-year postsecondary degree in a STEM field from an accredited community college;

• $750,000 for a new Law Enforcement Cadet Apprenticeship Program designed to help create career pathways in law enforcement;

• $160,000 for the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship; and

• $100,000 for the new Apprenticeship Career Training Pilot program for formerly incarcerated individuals.

 

Healthcare
The FY 2021 budget includes:

• Nearly $12.1 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program, providing health coverage to nearly 1.4 million Marylanders--including more than 146,000 children through the Maryland Children’s Health Program;

• More than $1.3 billion in support for developmental disabilities community services—a growth rate of 4% over FY 2020--including an additional $26 million to expand services and reduce the waiting list;

• $84 million to fund a 2% rate increase for behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and most other healthcare providers, plus $4 million more to maintain physician rates at 93% of the rate paid by Medicare;

• $29 million to expand treatment access for all individuals with the Hepatitis C virus, regardless of the stage of their illness;

• $24.8 million in additional funding for Community First Choice services to keep elderly and disabled adults out of nursing homes;

• $5 million to continue to provide dental benefits to adults under the age of 65 who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid;

• $3 million to improve access to small pharmacies in less populated areas of the state;

• $2.5 million in additional funding for local health departments ($1 million above normal formula growth), to help ensure that Marylanders in every locality are protected by state-of-the-art public health emergency practices and facilities; and

• $1.6 million over two years to help uninsured women receive the best available treatment protocols for breast and cervical cancer. Overall, under Governor Hogan, funding to support individuals with developmental disabilities in the community has increased by $430 million (or 44%) and funding for local health departments has grown by a total of $15 million (a 33% increase).

• $118.4 million for non-Medicaid substance abuse disorder and addiction programs, a 13% increase and a new record level of funding;

• $200.6 million for mental health and substance use disorder treatment for the uninsured population, another record-high investment resulting from a 10% increase over FY 2020 levels;

• $10 million to fund the activities of the Opioid Operational Command Center, marking the fourth annual installment of the funds promised by Governor Hogan; and

• $4 million for grants to local behavioral health authorities--$1 million more than what was provided last year.


Health and Human Services Staffing and Infrastructure

In recognition of the critical role that the human element plays in providing healthcare treatment and human services, the governor’s budget proposal provides:
 

• $11.3 million to adjust the salaries of more than 2,700 positions (including social workers, direct care assistants, licensed practical nurses, psychologists, and geriatric nursing assistants), which will improve the recruitment and retention of key positions across state government;

• Thirty-eight new survey and licensure positions within the Office of Health Care Quality, representing the second installment of the governor’s multi-year commitment to expand the office’s ability to investigate allegations of neglect and harm at nursing homes and other healthcare facilities; and

• $750,000 and five staff positions for the newly created Prescription Drug Affordability Board tasked with evaluating expensive drugs and recommending appropriate methods for addressing increasing costs.
 

On top of these investments, the governor’s budget includes $3 million for critical maintenance and facilities upgrades at state health facilities, bringing the cumulative total over the past four years for such projects to $12 million.
 

Services for Vulnerable Populations

The Hogan administration recognizes that, even during this historic economic turnaround Maryland is experiencing, there will always be vulnerable citizens in need of state support, which is why the FY 2021 budget provides:

• $931 million in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for more than 346,000 households;

• $120.6 million to provide heating and electricity assistance benefits for 210,000 households;

• $12 million for programs such as the Elderly Rental Program and the Rental Housing Production Program that allow for the rehabilitation and creation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income families;

• $6.3 million to help mitigate the impact of the “benefit cliff” for newly employed recipients of public assistance, a Hogan initiative that provides continued assistance for up to three months as clients transition to new employment;

• $5.9 million for the Homelessness Solutions Program, which provided housing, emergency shelter, and outreach to approximately 300 youth in FY 2020--$1 million of which will provide short-term rental subsidies and case management services for youth experiencing homelessness;

• An additional $5.2 million in the budget for a 17% increase in the Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) monthly benefit;

• $4.5 million for the Renter’s Tax Credit--a new record--which helps disabled and elderly individuals to cover the cost of housing;

• $3.5 million for the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, in concordance with the Community Safety and Strengthening Act of 2019;

• $3.1 million to fund a 2% rate increase for out of-home residential service and foster care providers;
• $200,000 to provide additional food supplement benefits to families during the months that children are without access to free or reduced meals;

• $100,000 for the Maryland Farm and Families Fund to expand the purchasing power of residents using federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets; and

• A 2.5% inflation-based increase in the monthly Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefit.

 

Enhanced Services for Seniors

The FY 2021 budget, which includes:
 

• $25.6 million in state support to expand and develop community programs for Maryland’s aging population, a 40% increase since the governor took office;

• $4.6 million for food supplement benefits covering more than 28,000 senior households;

• $2 million for the Maryland Access Points program, which works to ensure that the growing population of older Marylanders remain connected to services and programs that can help them stay in their own homes and stay out of nursing homes;

• $1.2 million for the Durable Medical Equipment program to collect, repair, sterilize, and redistribute used equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and adaptive devices, to those in need; and

• $600,000 to expand Community for Life programs around the state, which provide home maintenance, transportation, and service navigation to older Marylanders living in defined geographic locations.


K-12 Education

The FY 2021 budget invests nearly $7.3 billion in Maryland’s public schools--fully funding state aid programs. Direct aid to local schools grows by $230 million (or 3.7%). The governor’s budget proposes more than $350 million for initiatives to create a world-class education system in Maryland consistent with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, including:
 

• $65.5 million for special education grants;

• $65.2 million for expanded community schools with enhanced services for students eligible for free-or-reduced price meals (FARM);


The governor’s budget further expands the number of slots to provide services for children with  autism, which will increase by 30% under Governor Hogan, by an additional 100 slots with the inclusion of $1.9 million in new funding. Governor Hogan’s budget fully funds the state aid formulas for the Maryland School for the Deaf and the Maryland School for the Blind. Additionally, it provides $1.1 million for professional salary enhancements at the two schools.

 

 

Maryland Minimum Wage Increase Began January 1, 2020


The minimum wage in Maryland increased Wednesday, January 1st, one of several state laws that took effect with the start of the new year. Other changes impact everything from car rentals to beer franchisers to organ donors. The minimum wage increased and is now $11. Before Wednesday, the minimum wage had been $10.10 in Maryland since 2018. Montgomery and Prince George's counties, however, have their own higher minimum-wage standards.


During the 2019 Maryland General Assembly, state lawmakers voted to pass the bill supporting the increase, then had to override a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan to push it through into law.  Over the next five years, minimum wage in Maryland will increase until it reaches $15 in 2025.

For employers with at least 15 employees, this is the increase schedule:

  • Jan. 1, 2020 — $11
  • Jan. 1, 2021 — $11.75
  • Jan. 1, 2022 — $12.50
  • Jan. 1, 2023 — $13.25
  • Jan. 1, 2024 — $14
  • Jan. 1, 2025 — $15

For employers with 14 or fewer employees, this is the schedule:

  • Jan. 1, 2020 — $11
  • Jan. 1, 2021 — $11.60
  • Jan. 1, 2022 — $12.20
  • Jan. 1, 2023 — $12.80
  • Jan. 1, 2024 — $13.40
  • Jan. 1, 2025 — $14
  • Jan. 1, 2026 — $14.60
  • July 1, 2026 — $15

Maryland is one of six states that passed laws to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over time: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are the others, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The D.C. minimum wage will rise to $15 this July.

New Deputy Secretary of the Behavorial Health Administration (BHA)

The Maryland Department of Health announced on Monday, December 30, 2019 that Dr. Alyia Jones will become Deputy Secretary and head of the state’s Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), which oversees state mental health hospitals and community programs for substance use, among other services. Dr. Jones is a psychiatrist and previously worked at Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, where she served for seven years as chief of psychiatry and chair of behavioral health.
Source: Baltimore Sun

Report: The future of Workforce Development

 

For this special report, “The Future of Workforce Development,” Salesforce Research surveyed 750 hiring managers to discover:
• How emerging technologies, including those powered by artificial intelligence (AI), are impacting the nature of work across industries
• Which skill sets are becoming more or less important as technology advances
• Which strategies companies are employing to empower their workforces with new skill sets

Data in this report is from a 2017 blind survey that generated responses from 750 hiring managers in business units, human resources, and IT teams in the United States

Click here to access the report.