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Lawmakers Fail To Approve Transportation, Casino Bills

The General Assembly was unable to reach a broad deal on issues affecting the Odenton and Severn area, including transportation funding, or for table games at casinos in the state.

The Maryland legislature ended its 90-day session Monday, and the bills that did not get passed received as much attention as those that did.

Lawmakers ended the session without a broad deal on the budget, forcing the legislature to approve a so-called "doomsday" budget that called for more than $500 million in cuts.

The big issues in the Odenton and Severn area involved transportation and schools, while residents were also keeping an eye on legislation that might have impacted the casino at Arundel Mills.

Here's a summary of what the General Assembly did or didn't pass, and how it might impact us locally.

Transportation and Taxes

Business leaders in the state, including those west Anne Arundel County, pushed for to help pay for road upgrades and other transportation improvements. This was an especially big issue around here due to the growth of employment at Fort Meade.

Gov. Martin O’Malley had proposed , and also presented plans for a simple 1-cent increase in the statewide sales tax.

But the session ended Monday with no agreement on a gas tax or any other measure to provide additional money for transportation.

Lawmakers now say there might be a special session to address the budget. It’s unclear whether money for transportation would be part of the conversation.

Casinos

The legislature worked until the final hour on a bill that would set up a referendum for a sixth casino license in Prince George’s County and to allow for table games at all casinos. This would impact the new Maryland Live! complex at Arundel Mills, which is with thousands of slot machines and electronic table games. The bill was passed by the Senate, but died in the House.

Schools

It’s impossible to determine the specific impacts on schools right here in Odenton and Severn, but we do know that the so-called “doomsday” budget that lawmakers passed does call for significant cuts in education spending. According to figures released by the governor’s office, the budget calls for a $4.46 million cut to education funding in Anne Arundel County in fiscal year 2013. The county board of education has requested an operating budget of more than $986 million, and a capital budget of about $198 million

The legislature did approve changes to the “maintenance of effort” law that would close some loopholes and also allow counties to raise property taxes if the money were to go to schools.

Patch is currently working on a broader story on the state budget's impact to schools, so stay tuned.

John April 11, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I'm glad the table games casino bill died. As someone who worked in Vegas for years, trust me when I say that the last thing anyone wants is for MD to turn into a casino state.
Cecilia Pfau April 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Isn't money raised through the Lottery supposed to help fund schools and roads? If yes, where in the heck is the money going in Maryland cause it's certainly not going where it's supposed to. Geez, sounds alot like what's happened with Social Security money. When are we all going to have enough of this???

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