Saturday, April 4, 2015

Annapolis Update

From Del. Kathy Szeliga (via The Dagger):
Ridesharing – Ubertastic!
Technology Making our Lives Better!

Have you ever used a ridesharing company like Uber? I have, and it’s been fantastic.

I’m working with a bi-partisan coalition of legislators to establish a place for ridesharing in Maryland. Please see our article in the Baltimore Sun urging legislators to get onboard.

Tax Update
Last Minute Tax Gets Legs!

We’ve been working hard to hold the line on Governor Hogan’s budget priorities. The Senate voted unanimously for the budget. Next week, the House will vote on the conference committee version of the budget. We should have tax relief this year. However, it’s not a concept that’s been used in Annapolis for 20 years.

The Leadership in the House is stalling any tax relief measures.

Here are some of the taxes that have been proposed this year but will NOT pass:
Chicken Tax – $15 million annual tax on poultry farmers – HB 886

Death Tax – eliminate the death tax repeal we passed last year HB 730

Bottle Tax – 5 cent tax on every bottle – can be redeemed if you return a bottle HB982

Bag tax – bans plastic bags and puts a 10 cent tax on paper bags – HB 551

Tobacco Tax – a $90 million annual tax on tobacco products – HB 108

Tax on Utility Bills for solar & wind – ramps up to a $566 million annual tax HB 377
It’s not too late to get some tax relief passed this year. I will continue to work on a few measures coming over from the Senate. Tax relief is proving to be a tough concept for too many in Annapolis to embrace. Oh what a difference a year makes!

2nd Amendment Update
Bills on firearms a heavy lift

One of the most frequently asked question I’ve received lately is about firearms legislation. 48 firearms related bills have been introduced this year. As usual, the pro 2nd Amendment bills have a tough time in Annapolis.

There are a few bills moving through the process, but until the 2015 legislative session comes to a close, I won’t count on anything passing.

The good news is the anti-firearm legislation is not moving.

I promise to update you on this important issue when session ends. My support of the 2nd Amendment is well known. There are many subscribers to my email updates who do not agree with me on this issue. We will have to agree to disagree.

Environmental Update
PMT (Phosphorus Management Tool) in Regulations

Cleaning up the Bay is important to all Marylanders. The PMT is a regulation imposed on farmers across our state to regulate phosphorus. Former Governor Martin O’Malley issued phosphorus management regulations in the last days of his term. It certainly appeared to be a parting shot to farmers as he had talked about this issue for at least four years and failed to act until he packed his office and was moving out. Implementation of these regulations would have severely crippled both the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore and the agricultural industry across our state.

The Hogan administration worked closely with the agricultural and environmental communities to design a balanced plan for limiting phosphorus run-off from Maryland farms. This solution, a plan that is agreeable to all parties and relies on the best-available science, represents an important step forward in environmental policy.

Those involved in achieving this compromise included the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Maryland Farm Bureau, and a coalition of environmental groups known as the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition.

Under the Hogan regulations, farmers will have to implement the new phosphorus management tool by 2024. The PMT regulates how much phosphorus can be applied, based on how much of the nutrient is already in the soil, and how likely it is to reach waterways.

Restoration of the bay is key to the future of our state, and it is the responsibility of every Marylander – not just the agricultural community. I am proud of Governor Hogan’s work to bring everyone together to find solutions that everyone can agree upon.

Angel Park
A Community Project Extraordinaire!

Angel Park will be an all-inclusive playground and amphitheater facility in Perry Hall near the library on Honeygo Blvd. The concept is similar to Annie’s Playground in Harford County. It is a playground that kids with disabilities can fully utilize. Angel Park will include slides that prevent static shock, equipment that is fully-wheelchair accessible, and other various unique playground equipment that all kids can use, no matter the disability or handicap.

Angel Park will incorporate the designs and ideas of local children and artists. It will be built and supported by the community and provide a unique destination to be enjoyed by all families for years to come. It will be more than a memorial park; it will be a special place for children, families and friends.

If you’d like more information on the project, Click Here! Construction should being around September 1st.

The park has a very real and personal meaning to members of our community. The name was purposely chosen to represent a vision of an ideal setting for happiness and reflection. This name was selected to inspire support from the widest audience and to build the enthusiasm and momentum necessary to make it a reality.

Angel Park began from an idea that came to Kelli and Andy Szczybor after the loss of their baby boy, Ryan. From a sad origin, a bright and life affirming idea emerged – to build a place for laughter, activity and fun, for families and friends throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.

Kelli Szczybor and her leadership team have raised about $1 million for the project. I sponsored a bi-partisan bill with delegates from the 7th and 8th districts; Rick Impallaria, John Cluster, Christian Miele and Eric Bromwell. We have been able to secure a grant from the State of Maryland for $100,000! The senators, JB Jennings and Kathy Klausmeier, are working on a senate grant of an additional $100,000. This is a terrific project we can all be proud of.

I hope to see you at the ground breaking and construction phase of this terrific project.

Thank you for your continued help and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance to you and your family.


Delegate Kathy Szeliga

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