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2018 Annapolis Report
The 2018 session of Maryland’s General Assembly saw little break from the typical approach of past sessions. Spending increases continued unabated, and although lawmakers addressed the state’s structural deficit, they took little action to alleviate it. Notably, there will be a small “structural surplus” this year, but the structural deficit will return significantly in later years.
Lawmakers championed tax relief for favored businesses, most notably Amazon, but not for average Marylanders. And action to control crime came in the form of further restrictions on firearms possession—laws that did more to generate praise from media than to control the actions of criminals.
There were some notable differences from past legislative sessions, however. Governor Larry Hogan and legislative leadership continued to disagree on various issues, which is not surprising since they represent two different parties. But these same legislators ignored Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot’s proposals to reform the state’s brewery laws and passed legislation to trim his powers.
This report summarizes and evaluates the 2018 legislative session’s results in major policy areas. The mission of the Maryland Public Policy Institute is to promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society. Our analysis of legislative sessions has been consistent with that mission. We note cases when legislation reduces the freedom of Marylanders or expands government intervention in people’s lives, and praise legislation that is consistent with our mission.
Assigning grades to legislation is a subjective process. This report cannot consider every bill passed by the General Assembly, much less every bill introduced by legislators. Instead it gives an overview of the most important bills considered in certain broad subject areas, as well as some lower-profile bills that merit attention. The 2018 session is graded on whether lawmakers promoted free enterprise, limited government, and civil society.