|BQA President Steve Donovan noted that the County budget in 2003 was $66 Million, yet according to this document it will rise 4.2% from $114.1 Million in FY2014, to $118.9 Million in FY2015.|
Click here to go to the County Budget approved on March 25, 2014! (This link takes you to the "short" version.)
Steve also points out that this budget includes 'Cost of Living' and 'Pay for Performance' increases for County Employee's which may be normal in the bloated, ever growing public sector, but remains out of the realm of possibility for the private sector. For many living over here, they've been thrilled just to maintain salary and hours the past 7 or 8 years, and that's only IF they're lucky enough to still have a job! We already know 84% of County residents must leave the County for work everyday.
This budget also includes a $3 Million increase to the Board of Education for 'Maintenance of Effort' in addition to a $100,000.00 increase in the cost of teacher pensions that the County is now required to pay, While the Governor and State steal 'intended contributions' to the State Pension in order to balance their budget! Bernie Madoff accounting remains 'Alive & Well' in Annapolis! There is very little growth to offset ANY increase along with the new services needs that surely will follow, meaning the Queen Anne's County Residential Taxpayer gets clobbered again!
|All County Commissioner candidates have been invited to meet with BUSINESS Queen Anne's during their March, April or May board meetings.|
So far we've met with three commissioner candidates and one Clerk of the Court candidate. After discussing the state of business in Queen Anne's County and touching on such items as the KI Sewer issue, Four Seasons and Economic Development in general, here are some of the emails received from those who visited:
Scott McGlashan said, "I wish to thank you for your invitation to meet and talk with each of you this afternoon. I only wish these types of interactions were more often. "
Tim McClusky expressed, "Thank you for taking the time to meet me today. I hope I was able to answer your questions, and if you would like me to expand on any of these issues, I would be glad to meet with you as a group, or individually."
Fred McNeil's sentiments were, "Many thanks for the meeting with BQA today and I appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas with this great group."
Bob Simmons, who had another meeting regarding the Board of Education that evening stated, "Thank you for the opportunity to address your group recently. I apologize that previously scheduled meetings did not allow me to fully address the Board's prepared questions nor the questions from those in attendance. If you would like to schedule another session, I will be happy to come and answer any questions from the BQA Board and of those in attendance. Thank you again for your invitation."
It was a great opportunity to meet the candidates and have open, frank and civil communication! We look forward to meeting with more candidates in the next two months.
UPDATE FROM SENATOR HERSHEY
At midnight on April 7, the 2014 General Assembly session will adjourn. One way or another, all issues will be resolved. However, at this writing, some significant issues have not yet reached the required consensus by both the Senate and the House.
The Budget - The Senate and House are generally in agreement on the Governor's $39 billion budget. An important budget issue still in contention is the size and content of the tax credit given to production operations for shows such as "House of Cards" and "Veep." The Senate has agreed to an $18.5 million credit, while the House has approved an $11 million credit with a provision that the state could purchase or seize the property of a production company that takes the tax credit, but moves the production out of state. Opponents of the House provision state that it sends a negative message to business.
Minimum Wage - Passage of the Governor's plan to raise the minimum wage in yearly increments to $10.10 by July 2016 and then, tie future increases to inflation has been stymied by amendments and proposed changes. The House wants to eliminate tying future wage increases to inflation and exempt taverns and cafes with annual incomes less than $250,000. The Senate wants to spread out the implementation of the wage hike over five years to 2018 and the Finance Committee chairman has threatened to keep the bill in committee until the Governor agrees to a wage hike for caregivers of the developmentally disabled that keeps their state-funded wages at least 35% more than the minimum wage. The compromise of a 2% wage increase proposed for these workers by the Governor has not been accepted.
Marijuana - It still appears that legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana will not be approved. The Senate and House have passed two different versions to change the state's medical marijuana law. Passage of a last year's law to permit dispensing medical marijuana has never been implemented because it limited dispensing to academic medical centers, like Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland Hospital, which elected to not participate dispensing the drug. The House looks to link the growers with dispensaries while the Senate bill wants a firewall between them. The Senate puts no limit on the number of growers allowed, while the House limits the number to ten.
Bail Reform - Both the Senate and House are trying to revamp the state's bail system. The Court of Appeals has ruled that defendants have a right to a lawyer at bail hearings, which would cost the state approximately $30 million annually. The Legislature must find some method to comply with the Court decree without such a huge cost. Because of the cost of options and the Court mandate, this has proved to be one of the most difficult issues to resolve.
There are many other bills to vote on and issues to resolve over the next week. The next Newsletter will report on the final decisions on these issues and a more comprehensive wrap-up of the 2014 session.
Thank you for taking the time to read these updates. Please know that you can contact me via email at Steve.Hershey@senate.state.md.us or at my office 410-841-3639. I look forward to serving and representing you in the General Assembly.
|INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES AMOUNT|
We announced last month that BQA Board Member Jack Ashley had stepped up as the new Membership Committee Chair. His first order of business was to present the idea of an "Individual Membership" dues level to the board which was approved!
"I really think there are many individuals that would like to join but may hesitate if their only option is to pay the same as a business with 1 to 10 employees. The $99 rate for an individual is very doable!", stated Jack.
If you know a business that would be a great asset as a member, please contact Jack at email@example.com
You can also firstname.lastname@example.org
for a copy of the following application!
You can find BQA on Facebook! Make sure to "Like" us!
| || |