Agenda Item 7
October 29,2013
Action
MEMORANDUM
October 25, 2013
TO:
FROM:
County Council
Robert
H.
Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
~
SUBJECT:
Action:
Expedited Bill8-l3, Working Families Income Supplement­
Amount
Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee recommendation (3-0): enact the Bill
with amendments_
Expedited Bill 8-13, Working Families Income Supplement - Amount, sponsored by
Councilmembers Riemer, EIrich, Leventhal and Berliner, was introduced on March 19. A public
hearing was held on July 9 and a Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee
worksession was held on October 21.
Background
The County Working Families Income Supplement (WFIS) is derived from the Federal
earned income tax credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable tax credit for lower income working
families and individuals. To qualify for the EITC in Tax Year 2013, a taxpayer must eam less
than:
$46,227 ($51,567 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
$43,038 ($48.378 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
$37,870 ($43,210 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
$14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
The Tax Year 2013 maximum credit is:
• $6,044 with three or more qualifying children
• $5,372 with two qualifying children
• $3,250 with one qualifying child
• $487 with no qualifying children
Twenty-two states (including Maryland), the District of Columbia, New York City, and
Montgomery County offer their residents a WFIS based upon the EITC. Maryland permits
residents to claim a credit of one-half of the Federal EITC. In 2000, the County began matching
100% of the Maryland credit to help working County residents meet the high costs of living in
Montgomery County. In May 2010, the Council enacted Expedited Bill 33-10, which permitted
the Council to set the WFIS at less than 100% of the Maryland credit by resolution each year.
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Accordingly, the Council set the WFIS at 72.5% for FY2011, 68.9% for FY2012, and 75.5% for
FY2013.
Expedited Bill 8-13 would increase the WFIS to 80% of the Maryland credit beginning in
FY2014, 90% in FY2015, and
100%
in FY2016 and beyond. The Bill would also pennit the
Council, upon request of the Executive, to approve a lower amount in the annual operating
budget by a vote of at least 6 Councilmembers. This limited waiver provision would apply
during the transition years and after the WFIS reaches
100%
of the Maryland credit in FY2016.
A memorandum from Councilmember Hans Riemer describing the purpose of the Bill and
outlining some of the occupations of County residents who are likely to qualify for the WFIS is
at©4.
On May 23, 2013, the Council approved Resolution No. 17-762, FY2014 Operating
Budget of the Montgomery County Government, which appropriated funds to increase the WFIS
to 85% of the Maryland credit during FY2014.
Public Hearing
All 11 speakers supported the Bill at the July 9 public hearing. Deborah Stein of the
Hatcher Group, Robin McKinney of Maryland CASH Campaign, Tiffany Tan of Catholic
Charities, Lawrence Couch of Justice and Advocacy Council of Montgomery County
Archdiocese, Chris Mai of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Irene Burski of Progressive
Maryland, Michael Rubin of Jews United for Justice, Bob Stewart of MCGEO, Cathy Demeroto
of Maryland Hunger Solutions, Laurie Ann Sayles of the Community Action Board from the
Department of Health and Human Services, and R. Camille Henry, individual, each praised the
County WFIS and urged maximum funding for this program.
GO Committee Worksession
Rob Hagedoom, Finance, Mike Coveyou, Finance, and Jed Millard, OMB represented
the Executive Branch. The Committee reviewed the Bill and approved (3-0) amendments that
would:
(1)
change the waiver provision from 6 Councilmembers to 5 Councilmembers;
(2)
remove the requirement that the Executive recommend a waiver;
(3)
add an escape clause if the State increases its refundable EITC;
(4)
change the transition to 90% in FY15 and 95% in FYI6; and
(5)
change the Bill to non-expedited and the effective date to July 1,2014.
The Committee recommended (3-0) enactment of the Bill with these amendments.
Issues
1.
Should the Council enact a law that attempts to influence budget decisions for future
years?
Under Charter §303, the Executive must submit a recommended operating budget to the
Council each year. The Council must approve an operating budget no later than June 1 of each
year. Under Charter §306, the Executive may disapprove or reduce any item in the budget, and
2
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the Council may override the Executive's action by an affinnative vote of 6 Councilmembers.
The entire budget process requires a review and analysis of projected revenues and expenditures
on an annual basis. Bill 8-13 would, subject to waiver or repeal, fund the WFIS at a certain pre­
detennined level without regard to projected revenues or expenses. All of the testimony
concerning the Bill indicates that the WFIS is an extremely worthwhile expenditure of County
funds that provides much needed income to County residents who need the boost. However, the
Bill would favor this program over other County programs designed to provide similar services
or benefits to County residents in future years without any analysis of the other potential uses for
this public money.
This Council, or a future Council, could always amend or repeal this law and thereby
reduce its impact on future budget decisions. The Bill also contains a waiver provision that can
be implemented by the Council on an annual basis.
I
2. Does the requirement that 6 Councilmembers vote to waive the amount of the WFIS
required by the Bill violate the County Charter?
The County Attorney, in a memo dated August 21, 2013 (©12-14), concluded that the
supennajority voting requiremynt for a waiver in the Bill violates Charter §305. The County
Attorney points out that the Charter contains several specific situations where a supennajority of
Councilmembers must vote to take a certain action, such as approving an aggregate operating
budget that exceeds spending affordability guidelines. In contrast, §305 only requires the
Council to approve an annual budget by a majority of votes cast by a quorum of
Councilmembers. Council staff agrees with this analysis. Committee recommendation (3-0):
amend the waiver provision to require a vote of 5 Councilmembers.
3. What is the fiscal impact of the Bill?
The OMB Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement includes a table showing the
incremental cost of raising the WFIS each fiscal year above the 80% match at ©7. OMB revised
the table at ©16 to account for the Council's action raising the WFIS to 85% in FY14 after the
introduction of the Bill. Raising the WFIS from 85% to 90% would increase the cost of the
program by $1,016,400 in FYI5. The increase to 100% in FY16 would cost an additional
$3,210,700.
4. Councilmember Riemer's potential amendment.
The lead sponsor of the Bill, Council member Riemer, introduced an amendment at the
Committee worksession that would:
(a)
extend the phase-in period of the WFIS to 100% of the State credit from FY16 to
FYI7 and reduce the annual increases;
(b)
reduce the waiver vote from 6 Councilmembers to 5;
(c)
penn it the Council to waive the required WFIS without a recommendation from
the Executive;
As explained in Issue 2, the supermajority requirement for the waiver probably conflicts with the Charter and
should be amended.
I
3
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(d)
(e)
permit the Council to avoid the required WFIS appropriation in any year where
the State Refundable EIC exceeds 25% of the Federal EIC; and
change the Bill to non-expedited.
The Committee approved (3-0) the amendment.
See lines 2-25 of the Bill at ©2.
This packet contains:
Expedited Bill 8-13
Legislative Request Report
Council member Riemer Memo dated January 31
Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement
County Attorney Memo dated August 21, 2013
Updated numbers from OMB on the fiscal impact
F:\LA W\BILLS\ 1308 Working Families Income Supplement\Action Memo.Doc
Circle #
1
3
4
6
12
15
4
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[[Expedited]] Bill No.
_~8-.:...!1~3~
_ _
Concerning: Working Families Income
Supplement - Amount
Revised: October
22, 2013
Draft No.
~
Introduced:
March
19,2013
Expires:
September
19, 2014
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _--:-:--_ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
---!..!N~on~e"___:__---_
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmembers Riemer, EIrich, Leventhal, and Berliner
AN [[EXPEDITED]] ACT
to:
(1)
amend the amount paid to recipients under the Working Families Income Supplement
Program; and
(2)
generally amend the Working Families Income Supplement Program.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 20, Finance
Article XIV, Working Families Income Supplement
Section 20-79
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffocted by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
- 1­
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EXPEDITED BILL
No. 8-13
1
2
3
4
Sec.
1.
Section 20-79 is amended as follows:
20-79. Amount of Supplement.
ill
Subject to [[subsection]] subsections
(Q)
and (c), [The] the amount of
the Working Families Income Supplement paid to each recipient must
equal the amount of any refund the recipient receives from the State
earned income credit program [or another amount approved in the
annual operating budget or a Council resolution].
5
6
7
8
9
(Q)
[[
At the request of the Executive, the]] The Council may approve
~
lower amount in the annual operating budget
Qy
an affirmative vote of
at least [[six]] five Councilmembers.
10
11
12
13
14
15
W
The amount required in subsection Ca) does not apply in any year that
the State refundable earned income credit is greater than the amount
by which 25% of the Federal Earned Income Credit exceeds the gross
State income tax.
Sec. 2.
Transition.
Notwithstanding Section 20-79(a), as amended in
16
17
18
Section 1, the amount of the Working Families Income Supplement paid to each
recipient:
(a)
must equal [[80%]] 90% of any refund the recipient receives from the
State earned income credit program in Fiscal Year [[2014]]
(b)
State earned income credit program in Fiscal Year [[2015]]
=~.
Sec.
3.
[[Expedited]] Effective Date.
[[The Council declares that this legislation is necessary for the immediate
protection of the public interest.]] This Act takes effect for any fiscal year beginning
on or after July 1, [[2013]] 2014.
and
19
20
21
must equal [[90%]] 95% of any refund the recipient receives from the
22
23
24
25
-2­
F:\LAw\BILLS\1308 Working Families Income Supplement\BiIl4.Doc
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Expedited Bill 8-13
Working Families Income Supplement
-
Amount
DESCRIPTION:
Expedited Bill 6-13 would increase the WFIS to 80% of the
Maryland credit beginning in FY 2014, 90% in FY 2015, and 100%
in FY2016 and beyond. The Bill would permit the Council, at the
request of the Executive, to approve a lower amount in the annual
operating budget by a vote of at least 6 Councilmembers.
Due to the economic recession, the County reduced the WFIS to less
than 100% of the Maryland credit. The high cost of living in the
County has made it difficult for lower income working families and
individuals to meet expenses.
To mandate in law that the WFIS must be 100% of the Maryland
credit.
HHS, OMB, Finance
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Robert H. Drummer, 240-777-7895
Not applicable.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
None.
f:\law\bills\ 1308 working families income supplement\legislative request rep
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Memorandum
Date:
To:
From:
Re:
January 31, 2013
Council Colleagues
Councilmember Hans Riemer
Legislation to restore the Working Families Income Supplement
I am writing to ask for your co-sponsorship of the attached bill, which would restore the county's
Working Families Income Supplement (WFIS) to 100% of the level of the state's Earned Income
Credit.
The impact of this bill is to provide badly needed income for our county's poorest residents,
money that may be used to buy groceries or make a rent payment or repair a car.
The county's WFIS is derived from the federaL Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Started in 1975,
the EITC allows households earning income to appLy tax credits to their returns. The credits are
availabLe to those with earned income ranging from $13,980 (for singLe peopLe with no children)
to $50,270 (for married couples with three or more children). The maximum federaL credit is
$5,891.
The State of Maryland allows residents to claim half the federal credit on their state income tax
returns. In 2000, Montgomery County began matching the state's credit to help working people
meet the high costs of living here. But in 2010, the recession forced the county to reduce its tax
credit at the very moment that working residents needed it the most. At the County Executive's
request, the council passed Bill 33-10, which aboLished the requirement in county Law that the
county match the state's credit dollar for dollar.
In FY11, the county cut its credit to 72.5% of the state's level. In the following year, the county
cut its credit to 68.9% of the state's level. At the same time, the number of households who
received the credit rose from less than 20,000 to more than 30,000.
In last year's recommended budget, the County Executive proposed to keep the county's tax
credit at 68.9% of the state's credit, the same record-low level as last year. The council raised
the county's match to 75.5%. But there is no assurance that the credit will ever return to the
100% match that the county was abLe to sustain for ten years. This bill will provide that
assurance.
Recipients of the WFIS include some of the Lowest-paid residents of the county. Following is a
sample of occupations in the Bethesda-RockviLLe-Frederick metro area with annuaL wage payments
that might quaLify for the WFIS.
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Occupation
Fast Food Cooks
Dishwashers
Cashiers
Childcare Workers
Retail Salespersons
Janitors
Construction Laborers
Office Clerks
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Annual Wages.
2011
19,600
19,700
22,320
22,890
25,680
26,640
28,360
$31,190
WFIS recipients also reflect the county's diversity:
Demographic
White (Non-Hispanic)
Hispanic
Black
Asian
%
of County Households
57%
12
17
13
%
of County Households
with less than
550.000
income
43%
19
27
11
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2011.
Due to our exceptionally high cost of living, these workers are barely able to make it in our
county. The Maryland Community Action Partnership estimates that a single adult with a
pre-schooler needs
$64,060
to be economically self-sufficient in Montgomery County.1
What does the county's tax credit mean for working families? In
FY11,
the county had
33,840
WFIS recipients who received an average amount of
$381.81
each. A restoration of the county
match to
100%
woul,d put an extra
$124
into the pocket of each recipient, for a total of
$505.81.
For workers on the edge, that could mean making a car payment or paying an overdue utility bill,
meeting rent or a car payment. Or consider that, as we participate in Councilmember Ervin's
SNAP challenge, it would provide $5 per day for
101
days.
The attached bill would raise the county's WFIS match to
80%
in
FY14, 90%
in
FY15
and
100%
in
FY16
and thereafter. Last year's committee staff packet estimated that each percentage point
increase would cost the county
$187,500.
Based on that estimate, I expect the county to pay an
additional
$843,750
in
FY14, $2.7
million in
FY15
and
$4.6
million in
FY16
and thereafter. Now
that the worst of our fiscal crisis is hopefully behind us, I believe that these are manageable
expenditures for us as well as critical income to our county's working class.
I appreciate your consideration of this legislation and ask for your support and co-sponsorship.
The SelfSUfficiency Standard/or Mary/and. 2012.
Diana F. Pearce, University of Washington School of
Social Work. Prepared for the Maryland Community Action Partnership, 2012.
1
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~)l:
3-13
eo
cc
::-.6F
LL.
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
ROCKVILLE. MARYLAND 20SS0
Isiah
Leggett
County Executive
072220
MEMORANDUM
April
16.2013
TO:
FROM:
Nancy Navarro, President County Council
Jennifer A. Hughes, Director, Office of Management and Budget
Joseph F. Beach, Director, Department
ofFinanc~
rs--­
~
SUBJECT:
Council BilJ 8-13, Working Families Income Supplement - Amount
Please find attached the fiscal and economic impact statements for the above-referenced
legislation.
JAH:a2a
c: Kathleen Boucher, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin, Offices of the County Executive
Joy Nurmi, Special Assistant to the County Executive
Patrick Lacefield, Director, Public Information Office
Joseph F. Beach, Director, Department of Finance
Michael Coveyou, Department of Finance
Robert Hagedoorn, Department ofFinance
Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Department of Health and Human Services
Pat Brennan, Department of Health and Human Services
Patricia Stromberg, Department of Health and Human Services
Sara Black. Department of Health and Human Services
Sharon Strauss, Department of Health and Human Services
Erika Lopez-Finn, Office of Management and Budget
Pofen Salem, Office of Management and Budget
Ayo Apollon, Office of Management and Budget
montgomerycountymd.gov/311
~~I
'.'Mi,IUW'.......
~
....:
~-
..;"f
240-773-3556 TTY
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Fiscal Impact Statement
Council Bill 8-13, Worldng Families Income Supplement - Amount
1. Legislative Summary.
This legislation proposes to increase the Working Families Income Supplement Non
Departmental Account in order to increase the County's contributions to the State Earned
Income Tax Credit (BITC) to the amount of 80%
in
FYI4, 90%
in
FY15, and 100% in FYI6.
This legislation requires that the amount can only be lowered if approved by six members of
CounciL
2. An estimate of changes in County revenues and expenditures regardless of whether the
revenues or expenditures are assumed in the recommended or approved budget.
Includes source of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
Increasing the portion ofEITC benefits for County residents will proportionally affect the
amount of revenue with which the County can fund other items. Currently the Working
Families Income Supplement Non-Departmental Account (WFIS NDA) has an average cost
of $456.93 per recipient with County funding matching 80% of the State's contribution with
the NDA having a total appropriation of$16,661,800.
3. Revenue and expenditure estimates covering at least the next 6 fiscal years.
For FYI4, the WFIS NDA has a COl.Ulty Executive Recommended amount of$16,661,800.
This amount is consistent with the proposed legislation, specifically the 80% match for the
County.
For FY14 the full 100% match would increase the program cost by $3,952,500 from
$16,661,800 (80% match) to $20,614,300 (100% match). Since the administrative costs are
fixed regardless of the match amol.Ult, the relationship is not purely linear. As a result,
amounts will differ based on the match percentage, and is approximately $200,000 for each
1% change.
Please see the chart below for a breakdown by fiscal year.
Fiscal
Year
i
Administration
Costs·
Current WFIS
NDA Total Cost
Number of
Recipients
Average
Credit··
WFIS NDA Cost
with Legislation
Additional
Funds Needed
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
$34 700 :
$36,700
$37300
$38800
$39300
$39,900
$16661 800
$17124600
$18,100 300
$19,031 100
$19986500
$20.965,300
36,389
38640
39653
40636
41615
42,594
456.93
494.98
563.77
578.41
593.20
607.97
$16661.800
$19162800
$22,392,400
$23543000
$24724.900
$25,935,800
$0
$2,038,200
$4292100
$4,511,900
$4738400
$4,970,500
*=This figure is included In the WFIS NDA Total
**= This figure is for the current WFIS
NDA
(j)
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4.
An
actuarial analysis through the entire amortization period for each bill that would
affect retiree pension or group insurance costs.
This legislation does not affect retiree pension or group insurance costs.
5. Later actions that may affect future revenue and expenditures if the bill authorizes
future spending.
Section 1b of the legislation notes that, "Council may approve a lower amount in the annual
operating budget by an affinnative vote of six members." If this were to occur, spending
projections would be lowered.
6.
An
estimate of the staff time needed to implement the bill.
No staff time needed to implement the bill because the fonnulas are only changed to reflect
the new state match amount.
7. An explanation of how the addition of new staff responsibilities would affect other
duties.
Not Applicable.
8. An estimate of costs when an additional appropriation is needed.
Please see the chart provided for question number 3.
9. A description of any variable that could affect revenue and cost estimates.
A key variable affecting revenues and cost estimates would be the number of County
recipients that receive the EITC. A sharp increase in the number of recipients would divert
and strain fiscal resources. If the economy were to decline, the County could face an
increase in recipients and a decrease of revenues which would place an excess burden on the
COllllty.
The State's BITC contribution amount can affect the County's contribution. For example,
in
the most recent State Legislative session, Maryland House Bill 845 and Senate Bill 703 were
introduced and proposed increasing the State's match of the Federal BITC from 25% to 30%.
Ifpassed, this increase would have affected the County's EITC contribution.
The Federal BITC amount is another factor which could influence the County's cost, since
the County pegs its EITC to the State, which pegs its own BITC to the Federal Government.
A Federal BITC increase would obligate the County to pay a higher BITC.
10. Ranges of revenue or expenditures that are uncertain or difficult to project.
The number of recipients or any changes to the Federal BITC would be difficult to forecast.
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11.
If
a bill is likely to have no fiscal impact, why that is the case.
Not Applicable.
12. Other fiscal impacts or comments.
Not Applicable.
13. The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis:
Erika Lopez-Finn, Office of Management and Budget;
Pofen Salem, Office of Management and Budget;
Robert Hagedoom, Department of Finance;
Michael Coveyou, Department of Finance;
Pat Brennan, Legislative Liaison, Department of Health and Human Services;
Patricia Stromberg, Budget Team Leader, Department of Health and Human Services;
Sara Black, Special Needs Housing, Department of Health and Human Services;
Sharon Strauss, Office of Community Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services
er A.
, Director
c of Management and Budget
Date
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Economic Impact Statement
Expedited BiD 8-13, Working Families Income Supplement - Amount
Background:
This legislation would:
• Increase the Countts Working Families Income Supplement (WFIS) to 80
percent ofthe Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) beginning
in
Fiscal
Year
(FY)
2014, to 90 percent in FY2015, and 100 percent in FY2016 and beyond
• Permit the County Council, upon request of the County Executive,
to
approve a
lower amount in the annual operating budget by a vote ofat least six Council
members.
1. The sources of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
The methodology used by the Department ofFinance to estimate the amount ofthe
County's WFIS incorporates the growth
in
population, the change in
total
personal
income, the amount ofthe Federal EITC, refundable EITC formula in Maryland, and
historical trends in prior year amounts. Changes in population and personal income
are derived from historical trends from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic
Analysis, U.S. Department ofCommerce, and assumptions developed by the
Department of Finance for the operating budget. Data on the amount of the Federal
EITC come from the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Treasury. Finally collection and
refund data from the Maryland Comptroller are incorporated into the estimate of the
COWlty'S WFIS.
2. A description of any variable that could affect the economic impact estimates.
The following variables could affect the economic impact estimates:
a.
The number ofrecipients from FY2014 and beyond,
h.
Changes
in
economic conditions that impact the earnings of working families,
c. The percentage of reduction in the matching amount from FY2014 and
beyond,and
d. The demographic economic variables discussed
in
paragraph 1
~
3. The BiD's positive or negative effect,
if
any on employment, spending, saving,
investment, incomes, and property values
in
the County.
The bill will have a positive economic effect on the recipients of the WFIS in the
amoWlt of additional income that they would receive under Bill
8~
13 compared to
current policy. Finance estimates
that
the total cost from Bill 8-13 would be $2.038
million above current policy in FY2015, or an increase
in
the average credit of
Page 1 of2
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Economic Impact Statement
Expedited Bill 8-13, Working Families Income Supplement - Amount
$38.05, and $4.971 million above current policy in FY2019, or an increase in the
average credit of $151.04.
4. Ifa Bill is likely to have no economic impact, why
is
that the case?
Yes, recipients under the Working Families Income Supplement would see an
increase
in
their disposal income. The average amount of the increase would
be
$52.75
in
FY2015 to $116.69 in FY2019.
5. The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis: Rob
Hagedoom,
Chief, Treasury Division, David Platt, and Mike Coveyou, Finance.
1-/~-13
Date
Page2of2
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OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Marc P. Hansen
County Attorney
MEMORANDUM
TO:
Kathleen Boucher
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Marc Hansen
Ina....e;-
fI~
County Attorney
August 21,2013
Expedited Bill8-B, Working Families Income Supplement - Amount
FROM:
DATE:
RE:
Expedited Bill 8-13, Working Families Supplement - Amount, proposes to increase the
County's Working Families Income Supplement to 80% of the Maryland credit beginning in FY­
14; 90% in FY-15; and 100% in FY-16 and beyond.
Bill 8-13 also adds to Section 20-79 a new subsection
(b),
which provides, "At the
request of the Executive, the Council may approve a lower amount in the annual operating
budget by an affirmative vote of at least six Councihnembers."l (Emphasis added) This attempt
to impose by legislation a supermajority 6 vote requirement to approve an item in the annual
operating budget violates the County Charter.
Subsection
(b)
apparently is intended to address a concern that the specific levels of
funding for the County Working Families Supplement set in Bill 8-13 might be changed through
the annual budget. The prospect that a statute might be altered through the budget process is
well founded.
In
Haub
v.
Montgomery Count/,
the Court of Appeals addressed a challenge to a
decision made in the annual budget to contract out certain functions of the County government.
The Bill does not address what voting rule might apply
if
the Council, on
its
own initiative, desires to decrease a
budget recommendation of the Executive to fully fund the Working Families Income Supplement in accordance with
Bill 8-13. Charter Section 305 provides, "The Council may add to, delete from, increase or decrease any
appropriation item
in
the operating or capital budget."
1
2353 Md. 448 (1999)
101
Monroe Street, Rockville, Maryland
20850-2580
(240) 777-6795 TID (240) 777-2545. FAX (240) 777-6705.
scott.foncannon@montgomerycountymd.gov
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Kathleen Boucher
August 21, 2013
Page 2
The plaintiffs in
Haub
argued that the budgetary decision to contract out work previously
performed by merit system employees was inconsistent with certain personnel laws. The Court
dismissed this argument noting, "When, however, the decision to contract out or privatize
specific functions is made as a later legislative enactment
[i.e.
the approval of the budget], by the
same legislative body which earlier had enacted the collective bargaining ordinances and merit
system ordinances, the later enactment
[i.e.
the budget] prevails to the extent of any
inconsistency.
,,3
The County Charter imposes no specific voting requirement with respect to the approval
of the operating budget-although the Charter imposes certain supermajority voting
requirements if the operating exceeds certain levels. Charter Section 305 states simply that "The
Council shall approve each budget, as amended, and appropriate the funds therefor not later than
June 1 of the year in which it is submitted."
The general rule is that where a statute, like the Charter, does not specify the vote
required to do a particular act by a body, a majority of the body is sufficient to implement the
delegated authority. 4 McQuillan, Municipal Corporations, § 13:40. ("Where the law relating
to the particular subject does not specify the vote required to do the particular act, a majority
vote is sufficient.") A majority means more than half of the votes that are actually cast
4
without regard to the actual number of votes that are entitled to be cast.
The County Charter sets out specific voting requirements applicable to the County
Council in various sections of the Charter. For example, Charter § 111 requires that legislation
be approved by the affirmative vote of 5 councilmembers s and expedited legislation requires the
affirmative vote of 6 councilmembers; § 208 requires the affirmative vote of 6 councilmembers
to override an Executive veto oflegislation; § 302 requires the affirmative vote of 5
councilmembers to approved the six-year capital improvements program (CIP) and the approval
of 6 councilmembers, under certain circumstances, to approve an amendment to the CIP ; § 305
requires the affirmative vote of 6 councilmembers to approved an aggregate operating budget
that exceeds the Consumer Price Index, 7 councilmembers are required to approve an aggregate
capital or operating budget that exceeds spending affordability guidelines, and 9 councilmembers
are needed to impose a property tax levy above a certain level.
3
Id.
at 462
4
See
Black's Law Dictionary, 399 (pocket ed., Bryan Garner, ed. 1996); Robert's Rules of Order, § 44 (10
111
ed.
2000).
The
Haub
decision did not address the admittedly unlikely situation where the County budget is approved by less
than 5 Councilmembers.
An
argument could be made that a County budget approved by less than 5
Councilmembers cannot prevail over an inconsistent statute, because that would negate the requirement in Charter
§
III that legislation must be approved by 5 affirmative votes.
5
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Kathleen Boucher
August 21,2013
Page 3
The Maryland Court of Appeals has previously concluded that where an enabling
statute (the County Charter is in many respects an enabling statute) sets specific voting
requirements for a body to take certain action, the failure of the enabling statute to set specific
voting requirement to take other actions, precludes the imposition of supermajority voting
requirements as a condition of a body taking those other actions.
In
Mossberg v. Montgomery
Count/,
the Court of Appeals concluded that a provision in the Montgomery County Zoning
Ordinance imposing a supermajority requirement on the Board of Appeals to grant certain
special exceptions was invalid because it was not specifically authorized by the State zoning
enabling statute, the Regional District Act.
7
"No case has been called to our attention in which
this Court has upheld a supermajority requirement imposed by a county or Baltimore City
without express authorization from the General Assembly in the pertinent zoning enabling
statute."
[d.
at 505. The Court also noted that the General Assembly had explicitly imposed
elsewhere in the Regional District Act certain supermajority requirements and so knew how to
do so when that was its intent to abrogate the general majority rules doctrine.
8
As previously
noted, the Charter also knows how to impose a voting requirement different from the general
"majority rules" doctrine.
Finally, the imposition of a supermajority voting requirement for approval of a budget
item, as proposed by Bill 8-13, essentially robs the majority of the Council of the right to
agree with the Executive's budget recommendation-a result that
turns
on its head the budget
veto override provision of Charter
§
306, which provides, "The Council may, not later
than
June
30 of that year, reapprove any item over the disapproval or reduction of the County Executive by
the affirmative vote of six members."
Cc: Robert Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Scott Foncannon, Associate County Attorney
6
7
329 Md. 494 (1993)
See
Md. Code
Ann.,
art. 28, § 8-11O(a).
For example, in the Regional District Act, the General Assembly provided that the County Council, sitting
as
the
District Council, may adopt a zoning ordinance "by the affirmative votes of a majority of the total membership of
each district [county] council."
See
Md.
Ann.
Code, art. 28, § 8-101.
II
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Pecoraro. Karen
From:
Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Millard, Jedediah
Tuesday, October 15, 20132:10 PM
Drummer, Bob
Pecoraro, Karen
Re: Bill 8-13 Working Families Income Supplement - Amount
Bob-
Finance has provided me with updated numbers for the impact of the Bill. The only difference from those previously
submitted is in FY14 because Council approved an 85% match instead of the 80% stipulated in the Bill.
Current Law
Current Rate
FY2014
FY2015
FY2016
FY2017
FY2018
FY2019
85%
85%
85%
85%
85%
85%
Amount
17,657,600
18,146,400
New Rate
85%
90%
100%
100%
100%
100%
Bill 8-13
Amount
17,657,600
19,162,800
22,392,400
23,543,000
24,724,900
25,935,800
Difference
Amount
0
1,016,400
3,210,700
3,375,000
3,544,500
3,718,100
I
19,181,700
20,168,000
21,180,400
22,217,700
Since the only change is in the matching amount, there is no impact on the number of recipients or administrative fees
provided previously.
Jed Millard
Management
&
Budget Specialist
Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget
101 Monroe St, Room 1448
Rockville, MD 20850
240.777.2769
jedediah.millard@montgomerycountymd.gov
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