July 19, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog, Health
This week, two additional Republican senators came out against the Senate healthcare bill, leaving it with too few votes to move forward. Though the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) has been defeated in its current form, the fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare for millions of Americans is far from over. This defeat has revived efforts to repeal the ACA without a concurrent replacement.  Repeal of the ACA without a replacement would immediately repeal the Medicaid expansion, which provides about 290,000 Marylanders with health coverage, and eliminate health insurance subsidies that help middle-income families afford insurance. At the same time,  it would cut taxes for the wealthy. As a result, 32 million Americans would lose coverage by 2026, health insurance premiums would double, and the individual insurance market would collapse in most of the country. Nearly half a million Marylanders would lose their health insurance by…
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June 29, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog, Economic Opportunity
Many of Maryland’s lowest-paid workers will get a pay raise Saturday thanks to a scheduled increase in the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 per hour (though tipped workers will still languish at $3.63 per hour). This is the second-to-last in a series of increases called for under a 2014 law, which will bring Maryland’s wage floor to $10.10 by this time next year. For thousands of hardworking Maryland families, this law means more money for things like groceries and school supplies, which translates into stronger sales at local businesses. At the same time, $10.10 is not sufficient for even a single adult working full time to afford a basic standard of living anywhere in the state, let alone those raising children. We should celebrate this week’s increase and continue to work toward a statewide standard of $15 per hour. Maryland’s Wage Law Is Working as Intended While Maryland has raised…
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June 20, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog
Two major food assistance programs that help hundreds of thousands of struggling Maryland residents put food on the table are on the chopping block in the Trump budget. Cuts to these programs will leave more Marylanders hungry, deepen poverty, and make it harder for the state to make needed investments in things like schools and roads. Congress should reject these cruel cuts. Budget Offloads SNAP to the States The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has improved child health and helps kids do better in school. It currently serves 679,000 people in Maryland and brings $1.1 billion in federal dollars into the state each year. SNAP softened the blow of the Great Recession by helping families facing job loss or lower wages put food on the table. About 121,000 fewer people are enrolled in SNAP in Maryland since the peak in 2013, thanks to improvements in the economy. The president’s budget…
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June 16, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog, Economic Opportunity
President Trump’s budget proposal includes significant, damaging cuts to housing and community development programs. These programs help seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities and families afford decent housing, and work to improve public health, economic, and social conditions of struggling communities. Maryland would lose more than $97 million in federal funding for public housing, the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program if the proposed cuts are approved. Such a large loss of funds would leave many Marylanders unable to afford safe and healthy housing, while also halting improvement projects in rural and urban communities. The Community Development Block Grant Program supports projects to expand affordable housing opportunities, promote economic development, and improve public health and safety through infrastructure development. President Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate all funding for the program, a cut of $45 million for Maryland jurisdictions, leaving many communities without access to much-needed funds…
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June 9, 2017 by Christopher Meyer in Blog, Budget and Tax, Education
The Trump administration’s budget proposal calls for deep cuts to K-12 and higher education that would hamper the state’s ability to provide an excellent education to all Maryland children. These cuts would fall hardest on the students who need the most help at school. If implemented, these cuts to education funding would weaken Maryland’s economy. By Dscot018 from Wikimedia Commons The president’s budget would cut $65 million in federal aid for K-12 education in Maryland. The bulk of these come from the elimination of three programs: Supporting Effective Instruction ($30 million in federal budget year 2017): School systems use these grants to help teachers and principals work more effectively by funding professional development and smaller class sizes. Maryland desperately needs this support; all 24 school districts struggle to attract and retain qualified teachers. 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($17 million): This program funds before- and after-school programming to help students…
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June 7, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog
Maryland has made great progress in protecting the environment and ensuring that our natural resources continue to play an important part in our economy. Fracking is now banned, two offshore wind farms were recently approved, and the Chesapeake Bay is seeing healthy increases in oysters, female crabs, and sea grasses. The progress that has been made in cleaning up Maryland’s vital waterways is now at risk, due to cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget. Along with cuts to many other geographic programs run by the Environmental Protection Agency, the entire $73 million annual allowance for the Chesapeake Bay Program is eliminated in the proposed budget. Maryland would directly lose $9 million from its state budget. A healthy Chesapeake Bay is vital to Maryland’s economy, supporting tourism, commercial seafood, and real estate industries. The Maryland seafood industry alone contributes $600 million to the state economy each year. Decreases in the healthy…
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June 5, 2017 by Natalie Neill in Blog, Budget and Tax, Health
Despite campaign promises to leave Medicaid untouched, President Trump’s proposed budget doubles down on harmful cuts included in the House Republican healthcare bill passed in May. On top of the $839 billion in cuts included in the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the budget calls for a 12 percent further reduction in states’ Medicaid grants over 10 years. All told, the proposed policy would cut Medicaid by as much as $1.3 trillion over the next decade. By 2026, that means Maryland and other states will get 45 percent less in federal funds to help ensure low-income residents are able to get health care. Cuts of this magnitude would increase the number of uninsured Marylanders and shift significant costs to the state. Untenable Cost Burden for Maryland The AHCA alone would cap Medicaid reimbursement for states, and would cut $14 billion from Maryland’s budget over 10 years. The president’s budget proposal…
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The budget proposal President Trump released this week threatens the economic and social well-being of low- and moderate-income Marylanders. The budget slashes important anti-poverty programs that help more than 1 million of our neighbors meet basic living standards. It shrinks important investments in our economy, like protecting the Chesapeake Bay and creating new innovations in medicine by funding research. At the same time, it gives new tax breaks to the wealthy and powerful. The President’s proposed budget would also shift massive costs to Maryland at a time when policymakers here are already struggling to invest in education, transportation, and other services we all rely on. Rather than taking away opportunities from people who are working hard to get back on their feet, we need strong new investments in families and communities. The following are just a few examples of the ways this budget proposal would harm Maryland families and our…
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May 11, 2017 by Natalie Neill in Blog, Budget and Tax
President Trump’s proposed tax reform package includes a harmful provision to repeal the federal estate tax on large inheritances. The repeal would put a revenue stream Maryland relies on to provide essential services at risk, while benefiting only the extremely wealthy. Not only would federal tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy likely come at a cost to federal programs important in the state, federal changes would jeopardize Maryland’s ability to maintain its own estate tax. Our estate tax rules and asset measurements are linked by law to the federal estate tax. Maryland is already in the process of increasing the threshold for estates subject to the tax. Maryland will match the federal exemption amount by 2019, at which point only 2 in every 1,000 estates would be affected. In 2016, despite only applying to the top 3 percent of estates, the inheritance tax provided $207 million in revenue, more than enough…
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May 5, 2017 by Ellen Hutton in Blog
For years, Maryland has recognized the benefits of welcoming immigrants into its colleges and universities, including giving all Maryland residents an opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of immigration status. Policies like these are good for the college classroom, as well as our economy as a whole – and they may now be at risk. It is unclear, as of now, whether the Trump administration will choose to end protections for young adults who came to the U.S. as children and have legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. If the administration elects to end the program, thousands of Marylanders could lose their jobs and ability to attend college, many business could lose valued workers, and Maryland could lose nearly $14 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Maryland is home to 24,000 young adults who are eligible for DACA, although only 11,110 are…
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