Posts Tagged 'FY 2013'

Action Alert! Call Congress to ask for GPO Funding!

Library staff often help the public access government information. Soon the House and then the Senate will vote on the Legislative Branch budget. This includes funding for the Government Printing Office (GPO), which is responsible for making government information available to the public, both in print and digital formats. The digital publications are stored in the Federal Digital System (FDsys).

Please call your representatives in Congress and ask them to support GPO funding at the President’s FY 2013 recommendation, plus an additional $7 million for FDsys. For background and talking points, please see the Capwiz Action Alert. From there, you can also enter your ZIP code to determine the names and phone numbers of your representatives in Congress.

Thank you in advance for making the calls!

Action Alert! Call Mikulski to support LSTA & School library funding!

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) is expected to mark-up (take a vote) on the FY 2013 LHHS budget on Tuesday, June 12. This budget is the source of federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as funding for school libraries. Senator Mikulski serves on this subcommittee.

Please call Senator Mikulski at 202-224-4654 and ask her to support the following in the LHHS FY 2013 Appropriations bill:

1.  Level funding of the LSTA at $184.7 million for FY 2013.

2.  Level funding of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program at $28.6 million for FY 2013.

Background on LSTA

LSTA is the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget. It is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal government agency. Each state determines how they will allocate their LSTA funds. In Maryland, the funds are used for state-wide services like the Summer Reading Club and AskUsNow, among other things. In addition, LSTA also supports Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services; National Leadership Grants to support activities of national significance that enhances the quality of library services nationwide and provide coordination between libraries and museums; and, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians which is used to help develop and promote the next generation of librarians.

Background on IAL

From 2002 to 2010, the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program had been the primary source for federal funding of school libraries. However, in recent years the President and U.S. Congress have consolidated or zero-funded this program. A special thanks to Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) who recognized that school libraries need a direct funding source in the federal budget and had the money redirected in the U.S. Department of Education for the IAL program.

Thank you in advance for making the call!

MD General Assembly passes budget in special session

On Wednesday, May 16th, the Maryland General Assembly passed a budget and revenue bill for FY 2013 in a special session. The bill includes an increase in income taxes that will benefit the counties and help offset a 50% push down of the Teacher Pension. For more information, please see the Gazette article.

MD General Assembly to have special session for budget

On Monday, May 14th, the General Assembly will convene for a special session to discuss and vote on a budget for FY 2013. According to an announcement yesterday from Governor O’Malley, the compromise budget proposal that will be discussed includes $109 million in spending reductions to the $35.9 million budget, as well as an income tax increase and elimination of exemptions that would generate $195.6 million in state revenue.

The plan also includes a shift of 50% of the “normal cost” of teacher pensions, or $136.6 million, to counties starting in FY 2013. This would increase to a 100% shift in FY 2016. The normal cost is the amount required to pay pension liabilities if the system had not been underfunded.

For more information on the budget proposal and the special session, including a video of O’Malley’s announcement, please see the Gazette article.

The General Assembly did not pass a tax bill prior to the conclusion of the legislative session on April 9th. This means that the state is scheduled to automatically go into FY 2013 on July 1st using the “doomsday” budget, which includes a $512 million cut for education, libraries, public safety and other programs. (For more information, see the earlier blog post.) If the General Assembly votes in favor of this new proposal, the state would not implement the “doomsday” budget.

MD Legislative Session ends with “doomsday” budget

The 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly ended last night and legislators failed to pass a tax bill that would help balance the $36 billion budget. This means that as of July 1st, the “doomsday” budget, which is balanced by more than $500 million in cuts, will go into effect unless something is done. This would not include a shift in pension costs from the state to the local governments, but would cut $512 million for education, libraries, public safety and other programs (approximately a 10% cut to public library funding).

Governor O’Malley could call a special session to work on a plan to increase taxes and limit or eliminate the budget cuts. The Governor has not yet said what he will do.

For more details about the outcome of the legislative session, see these articles:

MD Senators sign on to LSTA Dear Colleague Letter

Both Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin signed onto the Dear Colleague letter in support of Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) funding. The letter asked for the funding to remain flat for FY 2013, as it is currently in the Appropriations bill 

At this point, it is unknown which members of the House may have signed onto a similar letter or whether or not any members of Congress signed onto the Dear Colleague letter in support of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Grant.

Many thanks to everyone who contacted the Senators to ask for their support!

Budget passed in Senate; moves on to House

The full Senate has passed the budget and it has moved on to the House. It appears that the House and Senate versions of the budget will have major differences, including how revenue will be raised and over how many years to spread the pension push down. The House is expected to finish its work on the budget this weekend. This Gazette article gives an indication of how the budget is taking shape in the House.

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