Newly-passed U.S. budget includes funding for local projects
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:51

Budget provides funding for Red Line, Port of Baltimore

 by Nicole Rodman

    A $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through next September has passed both houses of Congress.
    The 1,603-page bill includes funding for some local projects and industries, including the Baltimore Red Line and the Port of Baltimore.
    The budget bill cleared the House of Representatives last Thursday and was passed by the Senate on Saturday night. It now awaits President Obama’s expected signature.
    The bill will fund most of the government through Sept. 30, 2015 (with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only through February).
    The previous budget, passed in January, expired at the end of September.

County keeps Triple-AAA rating
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:18
 by Ben Boehl

    Baltimore County is one of 38 counties in the nation that has been assigned the highest possible bond ratings from all three major rating agencies:  Moody’s Investor Service, Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, and Fitch Ratings.
    Baltimore County reported it sold $200 million general obligation bonds at a 3 percent interest rate on Dec. 10, 2014.
    “We consider Baltimore County’s economy to be strong because of its access to the broad and diverse Baltimore area regional economy. The county anchors the Baltimore metropolitan statistical area as its economy remains centered on health care, education, high-tech manufacturing, government employment, and financial services,” read an excerpt from the Standard and Poor’s report.
    “There are five regional medical centers and five major colleges and universities within the county, which we believe provides employment stability.”
    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said the coveted AAA rating allows the county to issue its bonds at the lowest possible interest rate, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
    “I am very pleased that Baltimore County is once again being recognized as one of the best managed counties in the nation. Our history of solid fiscal management has led us to this strong, stable financial position, all without raising property tax and income tax rates for more than 20 years,” Kamenetz said in a statement.
    “I can’t stress enough why the county’s responsible fiscal management matters. Our top-tier credit ratings allow us to borrow at lower rates, so we can provide significant funding for programs such as ‘Schools for Our Future,’ a $1.1 billion school construction program which will eliminate school overcrowding.”

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