Posts Tagged 'Operating Budget'

Libraries receive flat funding from state for FY 2012

The Maryland General Assembly approved no change to the per capita funding for libraries as part of the Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act (BRFA).  This translates into another year of flat funding for Public Libraries, Regional Libraries and the State Library Resource Center (SLRC).  Because the per capita funding is based on population and real property wealth, individual library systems may notice a slight change in their funding amount, but it will otherwise remain the same.

Public libraries exempted from Pension administrative fee

In late March, the Maryland House of Delegates voted within a matter of hours to charge local governments an annual administrative fee of $162.77 for each person enrolled in the State Teachers’ Pension.  This fee would have added an additional $2 million in expenses to public libraries statewide, and no funding was restored in order to offset the expense.

Public library administrators rallied to show the Senate how this significant financial burden would negatively impact public libraries.  Their efforts were successful and the Senate voted to exempt public libraries from this administrative fee.

Fortunately, in Conference Committee the Senate prevailed.  Public libraries will be exempt from this administrative fee.

Pension changes coming in FY 2012

The State Teachers Pension has been a topic of budget discussions throughout this session of the General Assembly.  In addition to O’Malley’s proposed changes, many bills were introduced to make additional changes to the pension plan.  However, none of the bills made any progress beyond public hearings.

The House and Senate have passed the Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act (BRFA), including an employee contribution increase to 7% while maintaining the 1.8% benefit multiplier at retirement.  New employees will automatically contribute 7% and have a 1.5% benefit multiplier.  These changes will go into effect on July 1st.

State Senate approves level Public Library Funding

The Maryland State Senate approved the Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act (BRFA).  As did the House, the Senate kept flat funding for public libraries, as it was in the original proposal.

The BRFA will now go to Conference Committee to allow representatives from the Senate and House to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the budgets.  Since level funding for public libraries was included in both budgets, this should not change.

State Public Library funding approved by Appropriations with no cuts

Late last week, the Maryland House Appropriations Committee voted on the Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act (BRFA).  The vote included flat funding for public libraries, as originally proposed, with no additional cuts.

The Senate Budget and Tax Committee has not yet voted on the BRFA.

BRFA includes flat budget for libraries through 2016

The Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) includes any changes in the law requested by the Governor that would be necessary to implement proposed budget items.  These changes must be approved, rejected or amended by the General Assembly.

Since the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2012 includes a change in the law regarding the scheduled per capita increase for libraries, this is included in the BRFA.  Pages 14 and 15 of the BRFA show the public libraries, State Library Resource Center (SLRC) and Regional libraries flat-lined through the year 2016, then receiving incremental increases until reaching $15 per capita in 2019.

Conference Committee finalizes Library funding; Collective Bargaining bill makes no progress

The Maryland General Assembly’s session is over.  The budget was finalized in Conference Committee.  Here are the preliminary results, along with an update on the Collective Bargaining bill.

  • Operating Budget – In Conference Committee, it was decided that both the regional and county/Baltimore City libraries will be frozen in FY 2011 (which starts this July) at the current levels of $6.75 per capita for the regional libraries and $14.00 per capita for county libraries.  They have stated that libraries will go up to the FY 2012 level as stated in the law ($7.50 per capital for the regional libraries and $15.00 per capita for the county libraries)  and will top out at that rate thereafter.  That means that the 4th year per capita increase as originally passed in 2005 will not happen.  The law for the State Library Resource Center (SLRC) currently states that they will remain cut at $1.67 per capita for FY 2011, but will go back to $1.85 per capita in FY 2012.
  • Capital Budget – The committee agreed to take the House version of the Capital Budget and remove the cap of $800,000 per library capital grant project.  This is a major victory.
  • Collective Bargaining Bill – This bill did not make it out of committee in either the Senate or the House.

Public Library funding to be determined in Conference Committee

The budget will probably be hammered out by the House by the end of the week and the Conference Committees for both the operating and capital budgets will meet over the weekend to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions.   Public libraries will be featured in both committees, since in both cases the Senate and the House versions of the budgets have differences.

For the Operating budget, the Senate accepted a recommendation by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) not only to freeze libraries again in FY 2011 at the present per capita, but also add the wording “and there after” which means public libraries would never get another per capita increase without changing the law.  The House did not accept the recommendation; therefore, there is a chance to get that removed in Conference Committee.

For the Capital budget, the Senate again accepted a recommendation from DLS to put a cap of $800,000 on the library capital grant program.  What later came to light is that since this cap would be per project, which would effectively reduce the $5 million annual grant since many library systems apply for multi-year funding for the same project.  Again, the House Appropriations Committee did not accept the DLS recommendations and that means another chance to remove this in Conference Committee.  Both committees rejected another recommendation that would basically eliminate the grant all together. 

There was no warning that these recommendations would be made and the recommendations were not known until after the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee had voted.  There is hope that public libraries will fare well in Conference Committee.


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