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2012 General Election Ballot Guide: Maryland

MDTX

Statewide Measures

  • ( )  Taxpayers in Maryland will decide on Question 7, which would allow for the construction of a new casino in Prince George’s County. Revenue proceeds would purportedly be devoted to state education programs. There is significant disagreement over the disposition of funds, the overall budget effect of this measure, and the interaction of tax rates on casinos with the new tax credits that would be provided. Thus, the impact on Maryland taxpayers is unclear. NTU takes no position on gambling
  • ( - ) Maryland voters will also face Question 4, known as the Maryland In- State Tuition Referendum or Dream Act Referendum. If upheld, the law would grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in the State. On this question, there is significant uncertainty about the number of students who would utilize the program and thus, the cost to the government. Maryland’s Department of Legislative Services suggests it will cost $3.5 million annually by 2016. Another study estimates the Dream Act will cost approximately $7.4 million annually when federal, state, and county governments are considered. While this policy could lead to economic benefits for the State, most budget analysts acknowledge that the immedi- ate effect would be an increase in state outlays. NTU does not take a position on immigration; this measure is included in NTU’s guide because of its fiscal aspects.

Anne Arundel County

Countywide Measures

  • ( + ) Question A would require the County Executive to submit the budget to the County Council no more than 60 days before the end of the fis- cal year.
  • ( + ) Question B would create a mechanism by which the County Council could remove the County Executive from office and, in some circum- stances, prevent him or her from receiving post-employment benefits.
  • ( + ) Question C would create a mechanism by which the County Council could remove a member of the County Council from office and, in some circumstances, prevent him or her from receiving post-employ- ment benefits.
  • ( ) Question E would create a fund for the payment of County retiree health care benefits. This would keep retirement funds separate from general funds. It is unclear whether this measure would, by establish- ing such a fund, foster greater transparency and accountability or diminish voter control over benefit levels.
  • ( - ) Question F would limit the County Executive’s line-item veto only to comprehensive zoning ordinances.
  • ( + ) Question I would require an independent annual audit of all County offices, departments, and agencies.
  • ( + ) Question J would require that County-issued bonds only be used to fund the projects for which they were sold.
  • ( + ) Question L would impose term limits on Members of the County Board of Appeals.
  • ( + ) Question M would impose term limits on Members of the County Ethics Commission.

Baltimore City

Local Measures

  • ( - ) Question A would allow the City to issue $34 million in new debt to acquire land to construct and equip new schools and athletic facilities and to modernize existing schools.
  • ( - ) Question B would enable the City to borrow up to $8 million to build new parks or renovate existing ones.
  • ( - ) Question C would allow the City to issue $24 million in new debt to plan and implement the Mayor’s “community development program.”
  • ( - ) Question D would authorize $15.8 million in new debt to promote commercial and economic development.
  • ( - ) Question E would allow for $17 million in new debt to be used to build or improve facilities owned by the City of Baltimore and the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
  • ( - ) Question F would allow the City to borrow $300,000 for construc- tion, renovation and repairs at the Walters Art Museum.
  • ( - ) Question G would allow the City to issue $200,000 in new debt for repairs and improvements at the Maryland Zoo.
  • ( - ) Question H would authorize $200,000 in new debt for renovations at the Maryland Science Center.
  • ( - ) Question I would enable the City to take on $500,000 in debt for construction and repairs at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  • ( - ) Question J would create a new stormwater utility and impose a tax on Baltimore City residents to underwrite it.
  • ( + ) Question M would require quadrennial audits of the City government.

Baltimore County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - )  Question A would allow the County to take on nearly $148.9 million  in new debt for school construction.
  • ( - ) Question B would authorize the County to issue $2 million in debt for parks, greenways and preservation projects.
  • ( - )  Question C would enable the County to borrow approximately $55.9 million for public works projects including bridges, highways and storm drainage systems.
  • ( - )  Question D would allow the County to issue nearly $7.5 million in new debt for community and economic development projects.
  • ( - ) Question E would authorize the County to borrow more than $23.1 million for public operational building, including senior centers, recre- ational facilities and libraries.
  • ( - ) Question F would allow the County to issue $760,000 in new debt for refuse disposal projects.
  • ( - )  Question G would enable the County to borrow $15 million for com- munity college projects.
  • ( - )  Question H would authorize the County to borrow $1 million for agriculture and rural land preservation projects.
  • ( - ) Question I would allow the County to issue nearly $1.3 million in new debt for waterway projects.

Howard County

Countywide Measures

  • ( )  Question B would allow the County to carry over unexpended grant funds to the next fiscal year. It is unclear whether this measure wouldbenefit taxpayers by reducing budget pressure on grant programs  going forward, or whether it would decrease accountability in a grant- making process whose funding is based on a yearly timetable.
  • ( + ) Question A would give County residents access to public documents, thus increasing transparency of the County government.
  • ( - ) Question C would effectively raise the minimum number of signatures required to add a referendum to a ballot. This would make it more difficult for citizens to utilize the referendum process in ways that limit government.

Montgomery County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - )  Question B would strike down a law that limits “effects bargaining” for Montgomery County police officers. Opponents of effects bar- gaining contend that the process can turn simple management decisions about day-to-day tasks into costly, complicated labor disputes.

Local Measures

  • ( + ) Question C would end the outright prohibition on alcohol sales in Damascus by allowing some hotels and restaurants to sell beer and wine. Local business groups argue that removing restrictions on com- merce is good for the local economy.

Prince George’s County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - ) Question C would allow the County to issue approximately $45.2 million in new debt for the construction or renovation of libraries.
  • ( - )  Question D would allow the County to borrow more than $75.8 mil- lion to renovate or construct County buildings.
  • ( - ) Question E would authorize the County to issue approximately $156.4 million in new debt for public safety facilities.
  • ( - ) Question F would enable the County to issue nearly $193.4 million in new debt for public works and transportation projects.
  • ( - )  Question G would allow the County to borrow more than $156 million for the construction and renovation of community college facilities.

Wicomico County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - ) Question B would change the number of signatures required to place a referendum on the ballot to 20 percent of voters who voted in the last presidential election or 10,000 registered voters, whichever is fewer. Based on current voter registration and past activities, this measure would make it slightly more difficult for citizens to utilize the referendum process.
  • ( + ) Question D would require the County Executive to hold public hear- ings on the capital program and expense budget.