The Legislative Luncheon will take place on January 25, 2019, noon to 2 p.m at Miller Senate Building, Presidents Conference Center West, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis.
The guest speaker is U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Also present are the Rural Maryland Council, rural leaders, legislators and government officials.
Maryland is currently experiencing a short-term budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2020. However, budget deficits are projected for Fiscal Year 2021, which are anticipated to grow to almost $1.4 billion by Fiscal Year 2024. With this looming deficit on the horizon and the fact that according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, Maryland economic growth has underperformed with employment growth of 0.8% in the first half of 2018, the Rural Maryland Council has established 2019 legislative priorities including:
• Advocating for continued funding for Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF) to address disparities in unemployment and poverty rates in Maryland’s rural communities;
• Encouraging rural economic development in the form of tax credits;
• Supporting the recommendations offered by the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless and Cellular Service;
• Creating viable Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry & Rural Communities by supporting programs and policies that will sustain and enhance agricultural production and agritourism; and
• Addressing the shortage of health care professionals by supporting efforts to enable and expand telehealth to provide access to preventative and critical care services in rural areas.
Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) is an independent state agency that brings together rural leaders, government officials at all levels, and the representatives of the non-profit and for-profit sectors to develop public policy solutions to the challenges unique to rural Maryland. RMC operates under the direction of a 40-member executive board in a nonpartisan and nondiscriminatory manner. It serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts. To learn more, call (410) 841-5774, email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with RMC at facebook.com/RuralMaryland or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.