Video | Md. Outlines Plans To Spend $3.9-Billion In Rescue Funds
Leaders of the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Larry Hogan announced a bipartisan budget agreement Wednesday for spending of $3.9-billion coming to the state from the American Rescue Plan.
Priorities include shoring up Maryland’s unemployment insurance system, expanding broadband, helping schools reopen and putting Marylanders to work on transportation improvements and other infrastructure projects.
“I want to sincerely thank President Ferguson, Speaker Jones, and the budget chairs for working together with Secretary Brinkley and our budget team in order to reach agreement on this historic, fiscally responsible budget accord,” Hogan said. “With today’s announcement, Maryland has once again shown the nation that people from different parties can still come together, that we can put the people’s priorities first, and that we can deliver real, bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us.”
“This is about connecting businesses, schools, and families to the world,” Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City said. “What this represents is an investment in the post-pandemic economy, where we use these recovery dollars with the lessons that we have learned over the last year to build back stronger and be more competitive.”
“The Biden administration has helped set the states on the road to recovery, with $3.9 billion coming directly to the State of Maryland for us to help small businesses, students, and struggling Marylanders get back on their feet,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County added. “I want to thank Governor Hogan, Secretary Brinkley, and Chairmen McIntosh and Guzzone for their collaborative work to get us to this point today.”
Hogan’s office provided this outline of spending priorities:
The major components of the bipartisan agreement to provide targeted relief are:
- $1.1 billion in federal funding will be dedicated to shoring up the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to help stabilize unemployment insurance tax rates for businesses for calendar years 2022 and 2023.
- $800 million will be dedicated to supporting existing state efforts to provide pandemic relief, including the RELIEF Act of 2021 and the Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative.
- More than $600 million will be dedicated to supporting the safe reopening of Maryland schools, including:
- $481 million to address pandemic-related costs
- $80 million to support improved HVAC and ventilation systems ($40 million in both FY22 and FY23)
- $46 million to address the continued long-term impact of learning loss
- $500 million will be dedicated to supporting the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transportation Authority in improving services and infrastructure.
- $300 million will be dedicated to major investments in broadband technology, including:
- $128 million to improve network infrastructure
- $75 million for service fee and device subsidies
- $45 million for municipal broadband grants
- $300 million will be dedicated to supporting critical lifelines for Marylanders in need, including:
- $140 million to support the higher than estimated caseload cost in the Temporary Cash Assistance program
- $54 million to continue existing state programs that enhance monthly benefits for Marylanders receiving Temporary Cash Assistance and Temporary Disability Assistance through the end of 2021
- $50 million to support existing state efforts to help Marylanders struggling with utility bills by providing arrearage assistance
- $26 million to provide a temporary one-year 2% rate increase in FY22 for nursing homes
- $75 million will be dedicated to a variety of apprenticeships and employment training programs, and $15 million will be dedicated to promoting teleworking in the public and private sectors.
- $100 million will be dedicated to supporting state employees providing essential services, including:
- Continuing quarantine pay for existing state employees—including front line healthcare workers, corrections officers, and police officers who work in environments that could expose them to COVID-19, who are currently receiving it through December 31, 2021.
- Reinstating response pay for previously eligible employees back to September 2020, and continuing it until December 31, 2021. Only employees who currently receive or previously received this pay are eligible.