Reznik Report from Annapolis – A Truly Incredible BudgetApril 9, 2022
As I am about to head into the Saturday legislative session before Sine Die Monday, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the 2023 budget we passed this year.
As you know, I serve on the leadership of the Appropriations Committee as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Health and Social Services. Though I spend a fair amount of time working on legislation, both my own and my colleagues, the vast majority of my time is spent helping to craft the State’s operating and capital budgets.
It’s no secret we have a historic surplus this year. Thanks in no small part to the help of President Biden and Congressional Democrats COVID relief money and the fast economic recovery we’ve experienced over the last year as a result. This has allowed us to not only provide for some tax cuts that I wrote about last week, but fund much needed programs across our county and State.
The State Budget
So what were we able to do?
First and foremost, we fully funded the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. That’s right – the legislation to provide record funding to our school’s to ensure students are able to learn and teacher’s are able to teach – the bill the Governor Hogan and Republicans said would result in massive tax increases – well, it won’t. In fact, it was half paid for last year before we ever saw the surplus, and now it is completely paid for, in a year we also cut taxes.
Second, and close to my own heart, we made incredible strides in funding our health care and social services systems. We made between 7%-8% increases across the board to all Medicaid funded programs – behavioral health, development disabilities, nursing homes, adult medical day programs, and so many more.
We are set to cut the Autism Services Medicaid Waiver waitlist by 1,350, bringing needed services to kids that have been waiting for way too long.
We were able to match key Medicaid reimbursement rates for doctors to the Medicare rates, ensuring that there will be more medical professionals there to serve our residents across methods of payment.
We were able to budget an additional $270 million for vulnerable populations through programs like SNAP, TCA, and others, and expanded programs for dental care through Medicaid.
In addition, we provided record funding for public safety, cybersecurity, climate action, economic development, higher education, and much needed increased salaries for State employees who have not had any real increase in years.
We have also saved over 10% in cash reserves including the Rainy Day Fund and general fund reserves.
Whoa, that was a lot, but I’m so proud of our work.
Montgomery County in the Budget
So what does that mean for Montgomery County?
In short, Montgomery County did really well. Of course we will directly benefit from all of the funding I discussed above. From education to health care to public safety, we get a lion’s share of that money.
In addition, we will get over $1 billion in direct state aid to Montgomery County, a 6% increase over last year to benefit our schools, libraries, transportation systems, healthcare system, and county and municipal first responders such as police, fire, and rescue.
In the Capital budget, Montgomery County directly received $152 million for projects within the county, including $63 million to develop Montgomery County BRT transit lines.
In District 39 this includes money for multiple projects at South Germantown Park, Watkins Mill Recreation Area, and Seneca Creek State Park, money for rehabilitating several Elementary School playgrounds, BlackRock Center for the Performing Arts, needed expansion for CSAAC, stormwater management in Washington Grove, and Upcounty community living supports expansion.
As I mentioned, we are in on Saturday to finish the work of this great session. Monday at midnight is the end and we will be working up until the very end. Once the session is over, I will, as I always do, will send out an end of session summary.
Until then, and after then, please continue to reach out to my office on your thoughts about legislation or with needs for constituent services. I can always be reached at (301) 858-3039 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categorized in: District 39