It could increase funding for public education.
A bill to assure that Maintenance of Effort for public schools is funded has generated strong opposition from Frederick County and other jurisdictions The Commissioners have sent a letter to the local delegation regarding House Bill 1412, and Senate Bill 848, which would implement sanctions for counties which do not fund public education at Maintenance of Effort levels.
The legislation requires local governments to raise their property tax rate, even beyond what is stated in their charters, and use that additional revenue to fund schools. In order to make sure that counties adhere to that mandate, the measure says the state can intercept income tax revenue.
Maintenance of Effort requires local governments to fund public schools at a specific level each year. In the past, Frederick County has appropriate money for its schools at the same or higher level.
Commissioners' President Blaine Young says it would devastate county budgets for law enforcement, fire protection, road maintenance and other services. "The state won't over allow a fiscally involved body to take a waiver for appeals," he says. "It punishes counties that fund more than maintenance of effort. They will paint themselves in a corner."
Under current law, counties can appeal to the Maryland State Board of Education for a waiver to Maintenance of Effort requirements.
Young also says county tax caps which citizens put into affect through a referendum would be swept aside. "The top per-pupil school spending in the county and the state is listed as a 'bad actor' and forced to fund forever."
Young says the state's budget doesn't rely on this bill, and it's not necessary to pass it.
The Maryland Association of Counties is also joining the effort with its membership to oppose the legislation.