Politics and Policies

County Legislative Plans 2023

County Executive Marc Elrich says he wants to address housing affordability, economic development and climate change.  He has voiced support for rent stabilization, which other council members including Will Jawando and Kristin Mink have also said is a priority in making housing more affordable in the county.  Elrich to achieve the County’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 100 percent in the next 12 years by further expanding solar, electrifying the County fleet, investing in electric vehicle infrastructure, and continuing to implement and improve upon our smart and innovative policies on building energy standards.  He has also stated that “We must also drive home the message that our roads are meant for more than just cars. We are putting record amounts of money into our Flash Bus Rapid Transit program and will work with our State delegation and new State leadership to keep that progress going. In the past, business leaders have cited our lack of mass transit options as a reason to avoid moving to Montgomery County. We cannot let this issue continue to act like a roadblock to our economic development.” New County Council President Evan Glass wants to address homelessness and affordable housing, public transportation, climate change, and mental health support to help residents countywide. Updated January 14, 2023

The Council and the Planning Board will also begin implementing the Thrive Montgomery 2050 plan, an update to the county’s general master plan that is expected to guide development for the next 30 years. Council Members can implement the goals of Thrive through zoning text amendments, economic development legislation and policies, and other methods in the coming year.

Also in planning changes, the county will appoint new permanent members to the Planning Board in the new year.  The council intends to appoint successors for three temporary board members before Feb. 28. The council is expected to appoint the remaining two positions, including the chair, by June 14. State Sen. Ben Kramer (D-Dist. 19) has proposed two state bills that would establish a task force that would examine shifting some planning power to the executive branch. The majority of the County Council voted against recommending that Montgomery County’s state delegation should support those bills. The bills will be reviewed by the General Assembly. Updated January 14, 2023

County Revenue

Issue: How can the county increase revenues over the longer term so it can meet its budget requirements while balancing concerns for the environment, transportation, and schools. This is likely to be a major issue in the 2022 election for County Executive.

Background: The county’s pace of job growth and business creation has lagged D.C. and Virginia for more than a decade.  Its budget growth has slowed.  Its population growth and homebuilding have slowed.  It has seen many years of net exodus in adjusted gross income, with people moving in making less money than people moving out.  Some are even questioning the performance of the schools, which have long been regarded as the county’s crown jewel.  Two years ago, when Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney noted that Prince George’s County was outperforming MoCo on job creation, county politicians reacted with shock. 

The chart below illustrates the problem.

Economic Indicators. The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and Montgomery Planning publish a joint report of economic indicators that track a range of indicators, including resident labor force, employment, commercial real estate, permit issuance activity, and venture capital information. The Q3 2022 report [Jul-Sep] showed that total employment continued to make strides since September 2021; total employment grew by more than 9,000 and unemployment is 1.7 percentage points lower. Still, the county’s total labor force remains smaller than it was in September 2019, prior to the pandemic. Updated January 20, 2023.

Establishing and Maintaining a Business-Friendly Environment.

As part of the FY22 Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) work program, the County Council
assigned OLO with the task of preparing a report that examines government practices intended to
assist the creation or relocation of businesses or franchises. The Council requested information
on economic development strategies that have been determined to establish and maintain a
“business-friendly” environment that supports entrepreneurs and existing companies that do
business in Montgomery County. The OLO report can be found here. Updated January 20, 2023.

Updated January 14, 2023

Two 2020 council initiatives aimed at improving the county’s long term economic condition were passed over the County Executive’s veto.

  • Council Bill 29-20 as passed offers 15-year property tax breaks on Metro development projects in the hope that this will spur high rise development activity near Metro stations. 
  • The Council modified and then accepted the County Planning Board’s updated Subdivision Staging Policy, now referred to as Growth and Infrastructure Policy.  See this website for details. This policy requires the government to evaluate public infrastructure capacities, such as schools and roads, to determine whether they are sufficient to support a proposed development project before approving that project.  According to some, the changes to the policy reflect more of an emphasis on growth rather than on balancing the infrastructure to support new development.  Updated January 30, 2022

County Budget: FY2024 (2023-2024)

Latest update:


Information on the proposed FY2024 County operating budget will be posted here when it is available.

The CE has submitted his proposed amendments to the Capital Improvements Program. His press release contains a summary of what projects were added to, revised, or delayed. This includes an additional year delay for the Summit Avenue Extension, with design presumably in FY28 and completion in FY32.

Background: The county’s capital budget is called the Capital Improvements Program (CIP).  It is a six-year spending plan containing individual projects and streams of expenditures (like road resurfacing).  Its largest funding sources are general obligation (G.O.) bonds, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the county; state and federal aid; impact taxes on new construction projects; recordation taxes on home sales; cash and many other smaller line items.  Full CIPs are approved in even years (like 2020 and 2022) while amended CIPs are approved in odd years (like 2023).  The current CIP applies to FY23-28.

Updated January 25, 2023


Updated September 28, 2022

State Legislative Plans and Actions

2023 Legislative Session.

GOVERNOR MOORE’S GOALS. The governor’s budget, released January 20, 2023 reflects some of his primary goals, including increases for education and transportation programs, no new taxes, and a suite of legislative initiatives intended to create a more “competitive and equitable economy” in the state.

GENAERAL ASSEMBLY GOAL. State Senate President Bill Ferguson offered a preview of the issues lawmakers are likely to focus on. He identified mental health, transportation and workforce development as likely priorities for the legislature. He also said the new wave of state leaders need to pay careful attention to the learning and social deficits experienced by children as a result of the pandemic.  Obstacles children faced during the pandemic are part of a broader set of mental health challenges families encountered, the lawmaker said. He expressed optimism that “high-value tutoring” and other elements of the state’s new educational “Blueprint” initiative will help overcome them. And he called on employers to offer supports for workers who need them. Ferguson also called climate change “the question for our age” and “an existential threat for humanity.” He said lawmakers intend to build upon the landmark climate measure they passed this year, which sets ambitious energy and emissions goals for the state over the next decade.

District 18 Members. (This is Parkwood’s district).

Delegate Aaron Kaufman, who is beginning his first term, has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Delegate Emily Shetty was named to House leadership as Democratic Caucus Chair.  In addition, she has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee, where she will serve as Vice Chair of the subcommittee on healthcare.

Delegate Jared Solomon was appointed House Chairman on the Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee. In addition, he will continue serving as Vice Chair of the subcommittee on education. .

Senator Waldstreicher been re-appointed to Senate leadership as Vice Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

County Delegation Bills.  See this list of bills proposed by members of the County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

Updated January 14, 2023

2022 Legislative Summary. The legislature’s Department of Legislative Services has issued its summary report of the 2022 session.   The report contains detailed information on all legislative actions, including the budget as well as other policy matters. Updated September 28, 2022

State Revenue and Budget


Budget. Gov. Wes Moore (D) unveiled his first state budget on January 20, 2023, a $63.1 billion spending plan.

Key items noted by Moore in his budget presentation

  • State agencies have a 13.4% vacancy rate, compared to 6% a decade ago.
  • Over the past decade Maryland’s GDP grew by 11%, compared to a 23% growth in GDP nationally. In 2022 Maryland ranked 47th among states and the District of Columbia in overall “economic momentum;” 45th when it came to change in personal income; and was tied for 40th in population growth.
  • Moore pledged to add $500 million in extra spending for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Education)
  • Added $500 million for transportation to his spending plan, citing underfunding for projects such as the Purple Line.

Overview and Analysis. See this Overview for more details. For more analysis and comments by those both for and against some of the items in the budget, see these Maryland Matters articles:

Updated January 21, 2023

State Financial Condition. Maryland is well-equipped to survive a mild recession, fiscal analysts have told state lawmakers — thanks in part to all the federal largesse that has come the state’s way in recent years.  See Maryland Matters report

David Romans, coordinator of fiscal and policy analysis at the Department of Legislative Services, conceded that while there were fears of the state taking huge financial hits during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal aid has bolstered the state budget along with stronger than projected tax revenues. The federal government alone has accounted for an extra $25 billion in state coffers over the past three years, Romans told lawmakers.

Revenue estimates show the state government running annual budget surpluses of $1.5 billion through fiscal year 2025, the legislature’s analysts said, though it would drop to $600 million in FY 2028 due to a shortfall in designated funding that year for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the pricey education reform plan that is slowly being implemented.

But the fiscal analysts told lawmakers that current surpluses, including a more robust “Rainy Day Fund” than usual, leave budget writers with an array of options for potentially lean times.

Whether a recession hits Maryland in the coming year remains an unknown. Updated January 14, 2023

FY2023 Budget. The current fiscal year ends in June 2023.  The status of the budget is available here. As noted above, surpluses are projected through FY2025.  The summary of the final budget will be linked here when it is available.

Delegate Marc Korman, District 16, a member of House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, reports the following regarding the state’s FY2023 budget and projected revenues:

  • Budget FY2023
  • $2.4 billion added to the Rainy Day Fund to protect state finances in case of future fiscal uncertainty.
  • $350 million in tax relief, including a tax credit for retirees and a sales tax exemption for some essential goods.
  • Almost $8 billion for public school support and full funding of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, including approximately $900 million for the operations of Montgomery County Public Schools.
  • Grants to the arts and tourism community still reeling from COVID-19.
  • Support for colleges and universities to cap in-state student tuition increases at 2%.
  • Funding for expanding Medicaid to cover dental benefits.
  • Expanding Temporary Cash Assistance to those in need.
  • Expanding funding for summer meals for needy students.
  • Support to cut down the Autism Waiver waiting list.
  • In District 16 and across Montgomery County, the capital–or construction–budget as passed includes:
  • $12 million for the Bethesda Metro South Entrance being constructed in conjunction with the Purple Line.
  • $3 million for new park space around the Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market in Downtown Bethesda.
  • $500,000 for Round House Theatre renovations.
  • $130,000 for Glen Echo Park’s parking lot rehabilitation project.
  • $600,000 for Little Falls Stream Valley Park maintenance.
  • $1.25 million for the Housing Opportunities Commission and Montgomery County project at The Metropolitan to stop chronic flooding.
  • $500,000 for the Glen Echo Fire Department.
  • $63.4 million for Montgomery County Bus Rapid Transit.
  • $8.8 million for Montgomery County to acquire zero-emission buses.
  • $10 million for White Flint infrastructure improvements.
  • Tens of millions of dollars for Montgomery County school construction, including funds through a special program for school districts with high enrollment.

Updated September 28, 2022

FY2022 Budget. Maryland ended FY2022 with another unanticipated budget surplus — and this year some of that windfall will automatically be redirected to state savings accounts, school construction programs and state employee wage increases.Contributing to the windfall were personal income tax revenues, which came in 15.7% higher than projected, a 19.6% increase in sales and use taxes, and a 16.3% increase in corporate income tax, after companies saw rebounding profit growths.But Comptroller Franchot and other top fiscal leaders urged caution in spending Wednesday, citing concerns about a future economic downturn.

The March Update of the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates reported that income and sales tax revenue have come in at higher levels than expected, leading to an upward revision. These revisions are actually conservative, as personal income tax growth–for example–has been up 11.3% so far and would have to plummet to less than 1.9% to hit the estimate. Employment is still below pre-pandemic levels by 100,000 jobs and, despite these strong aggregate figures, many are suffering. Inflation and the geopolitical situation also create risk–to revenue and to health and safety and security. The presentation is here. The official write-up is here.And the full meeting can be watched here.

Updated September 28, 2022

Archived but Important

2020 Ballot Questions

Both the State and the County had important constitutional and charter questions on the 2020 ballot.

State Ballot Questions

Background:  In November 2020 Maryland voters approved two state ballot questions: 1]  A constitutional amendment that authorizes the General Assembly, beginning in FY2024, to increase, diminish, or add items to the budget as long as it does not exceed the proposed budget submitted by the governor; and 2] A referendum to approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education.

More Information:  See the PRA Fall 2020 newsletter.

County Ballot Questions

Background:  In November 2020 Montgomery County voters approved two county ballot questions:  1] To remove a cap that limits how much the county’s property tax revenue can increase in a single year. Requires all nine council members to approve an increase in the tax rate; and 2] To expand the council from nine seats to 11 seats. Seven members would be elected by district. The other four seats would remain at large.

More Information: See the PRA Fall 2020 newsletter.

updated 01/05/2021