2016 Policy Priorities for Maryland Nonprofits
Protecting Adequate Funding For Important State Programs and Services
Since 2000, state revenues have been inadequate to sustain, on a year to year basis, a “current services” level of funding for many important state programs and services, or to improve these underfunded efforts. This year we expect proposals will be made to further reduce state revenues through tax reductions that would continue the trend of degrading the ability of state agencies and nonprofit providers to serve the public. As our highest policy priority, we will oppose further revenue reductions, and support reasonable increases necessary to adequately fund the commitments already made to serve individuals, families and communities.
Making Government More Transparent and Accountable
We will continue to support the efforts of Marylanders for Open Government (”MDOG”) to improve the public’s access to the process of and information about the workings of state and local government. These issues include, but are not limited to, providing adequate notice to the public and their legislative representatives before the state Board of Public Works cuts appropriations in the approved state budget, implementing reforms adopted in 2015 to the Public information Act, and strengthening enforcement of the state’s ‘Open Meetings’ law.
Improving the State’s Commitment to Public Transit
The cancellation of the Red Line rail transit project, and a significant shift of resources generally from transit to highways over the next several years, highlight a problem we are hearing from members and others around the state – the lack of adequate transportation for those without ready/reliable access to automobiles. This is not only a Baltimore City or Purple Line issue. From the Eastern Shore to Western Maryland, providers and advocates are telling us of clients who have great difficulty accessing their services, or reaching jobs, education opportunities or such basics as health appointments and services. We will work with other transit advocates to identify and support policy initiatives that address this problem, and support state policies that improve access to affordable forms of public transit to reach employment, education and essential services.
Quality of Life
Maryland’s ‘quality of life’ is well recognized as one of the state’s major assets in analyses of its attractiveness and economic competitiveness. But data also demonstrate that there are significant weaknesses or inequities among different demographic groups and areas of the state. We will continue to develop metrics that demonstrate the many aspects of ‘quality of life’ in Maryland, and work with advocates to promote greater fairness and equity in using the state’s resources to address needs in our communities. Sustaining and improving quality of life for all must be a priority in developing public policy.
In addition to these policy priorities, we will actively work on other policy issues, consistent with our past policy positions and commitments, and our policy principles. Significant among these are:
Improving the procurement of human services by state agencies, and for major structural reform of the state procurement system
Supporting the “charity workgroup” created by legislation in 2014, and the Secretary of State and Attorney General to make Maryland’s oversight and regulation of charities more efficient and effective
Participating in the HOME ACT coalition in efforts to assure fair housing opportunities to those receiving government or private housing assistance
Expanding Maryland’s state earned income tax credit as tool to reduce income inequality
Ensuring fair voting rights, and access to the polls, and opposing efforts that would constrain these
Working with other non-partisan advocates to improve voter registration and participation in Maryland elections
Improve public health through raising taxes on tobacco products
For more information, or to join our efforts, contact Henry Bogdan, Maryland Nonprofits Director of Public Policy at email@example.com or 443-438-2318.