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Budget and Taxation Committee must balance while showing restraint

February 13, 2007

Editor's note: This is part three of an occasional series explaining the committees on which state lawmakers from Washington County serve in the Maryland General Assembly.




Committee name: Senate Budget and Taxation

Washington County representative: Donald F. Munson, R-Washington

Started on committee: 1992

Committee's purpose: "The committee is charged with reviewing, reducing and balancing the almost $30 billion state operating budget presented to the General Assembly by the governor," Munson said. "It is also responsible for reviewing, reducing and producing the state capital budget of nearly $1.5 billion as presented by the governor. The committee also reviews and makes recommendations concerning numerous bills related to the budget. Basically, anytime bills regarding revenues or expenditures are filed, they are sent to the Budget and Taxation Committee."

How the Maryland General Assembly Web site describes the committee: "Budget and Taxation Committee considers legislation relating to State operating and capital budgets, including revenues, expenditures and supplementary appropriations; legislative budgetary procedures; state and county bond authorizations; taxation and property assessments; education financing; and pension and retirement matters."

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Key issue(s) the committee could face this session: "Although the state will come into fiscal year 2008 with a surplus, the state is facing a structural deficit in the out years," Munson said. "Besides recommending a balanced budget to the entire Senate, the Budget and Taxation Committee must prepare for the leaner years in the future by exercising extraordinary fiscal restraint."

Bill(s) connected to the committee's work that Munson has introduced or plans to introduce: None. Munson said local bond bills are filed in the delegation's name in the House and in his name in the Senate.

Subcommittee(s) Munson is assigned to: Public Safety, Transportation & Environment Subcommittee; Pensions Subcommittee; Capital Budget Subcommittee

Comment: "The Budget and Taxation Committee is seen by many as the single-most powerful committee in the General Assembly. It is not a glamorous committee, but rather it is the workhorse committee of the General Assembly, having the responsibilities of both the Appropriations Committee and the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Delegates. The principal responsibility is balancing a budget of $30 billion and growing. In addition to my responsibilities on the Budget and Taxation Committee, I sit on 10 other legislative committees, including the influential Executive Nominations Committee, which reviews appointments made by the governor and makes recommendations on those appointments to the Senate of Maryland."

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