Don Rush

Legislation to lift restrictions on craft beer in Maryland failed to get out of committee in Annapolis this session. It has become a signature issue for Comptroller Peter Franchot who put together a task force to develop recommendations to ease restrictions in the industry. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught upw with the Comptroller to talk about the legislation's failure and what he expects in next year's session.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - A bill introduced by two Maryland delegates seeks to roll back how much beer small breweries in the state can serve in their taprooms while allowing larger facilities to maintain existing limits.

The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that Maryland Dels. Talmadge Branch and Dereck Davis introduced House Bill 1052.

The bill calls for reducing annual limits from the existing 2,000 barrels to 500 barrels at small breweries while allowing larger facilities to continue to sell 2,000 barrels of beer. 

creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has signed a measure to create greater protections for Maryland taxpayers from tax fraud and identity theft.

It was one of the 207 bills the governor signed on Thursday.

The measure strengthens the ability of the comptroller's office to stop tax fraud, protect taxpayer information and hold fraudulent filers and tax preparers accountable.

Comptroller Peter Franchot says: "It's the missing piece of the puzzle for fighting tax fraud."

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland revenue estimates have been revised down by $51.4 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

The state's Board of Revenue Estimates announced the revisions Wednesday. Officials say the less-than-expected revenue indicates consumers are still being cautious.

Comptroller Peter Franchot says the state continues to see "lackluster growth in wages and minimal growth in high-paying jobs." He says "very weak sales" during the holiday shopping season are part of the reason for the revenue drop off.

creative commons

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Kent County Levy Court is pushing to eliminate the last remaining county comptroller position.

The Delaware State News reports the court is looking to eliminate the position before its current term ends in 2017.

County commissioners believe the position is now obsolete. Commissioner George "Jody" Sweeney says the county would save about $150,000 to $155,000 per year if the position is eliminated.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Comptroller Peter Franchot says Maryland needs to strengthen its laws to fight rising cases of tax fraud.

Franchot said Tuesday he will ask lawmakers in the upcoming session to improve his agency's ability to enforce the tax code and protect taxpayers from identity theft. He says legislation is needed to keep up with "rapidly-increasing fraud schemes and fast-changing threats to sensitive data."

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Comptroller Peter Franchot is highlighting the upcoming tax-free week in Maryland.

Franchot will be in Baltimore to meet with retailers and local officials to discuss Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week.

It begins Sunday and runs through Aug. 15.

Qualifying clothing and foot wear prices $100 or less will be exempt from Maryland's 6 percent sales tax.

Franchot will be promoting the upcoming tax-free week at various events throughout the week in Queenstown, Annapolis, Bethesda and Waldorf.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - New revenue estimates for the state of Maryland won't require a downward adjustment of projections, but there aren't any extra dollars, either.

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates released unchanged revenue estimates on Wednesday.

Board members say that's positive compared to the last two revisions last year, which required them to note Maryland didn't bring in as much revenue as they had projected.

General fund revenues are expected to be about $15.7 billion for fiscal year 2015 and $16.2 billion for fiscal year 2016.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland lawmaker says he will introduce a bill to start Maryland public schools after Labor Day.

Sen. James Mathias, a Worcester Democrat, made the announcement at a Thursday news conference with Comptroller Peter Franchot and Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, who both support the idea. Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan also appeared at the Annapolis news conference to support the later start date.

Supporters say prolonging summer vacation by between five and 10 days would create more family time and help Maryland businesses.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Early voting is starting for Maryland's primary races.

Voters registered with the Democratic or Republican party can cast ballots from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Early voting continues through June 19.

The state's June 24 primary is unusually early this year. The date was moved up from September to comply with federal rules requiring states to send members of the military and other Americans overseas ballots.