At a town hall meeting on standardized testing, Del. Eric Ebersole speaks to the audience.

Testing chipping away at teaching, educators say

Standardized testing is chipping away at “so many layers” of a public school classroom these days, a panel of educators said during a town hall meeting -- taking away from teacher autonomy to curriculum and even technology hubs placed in schools to help students learn and connect to a high-tech world.

Map by "How Money Walks" shows states losing taxpayers in red and states gaining in green. For an interactive map with details for each state go to http://www.howmoneywalks.com/irs-tax-migration/

IRS data again shows taxpayers leaving Maryland

Recently released data from the IRS shows that about 5,500 more taxpayers left Maryland in 2012 than moved to the state.

Long-cited by tax critics as annual data that show the migration of taxpayers to lower-taxed states, some experts caution that not too much should be read into year-to-year changes.

By Editor B with Flickr Creative Commons License

Struggles of low-paid Marylanders misrepresented in flawed report

The insinuation that Marylanders would rather receive public assistance than work is not only insulting, but factually incorrect. The reality is that the safety net provides many Maryland families with support at critical moments, particularly when they aren’t paid enough to meet the cost of necessities.

Applying for benefits By USDAgov with Flickr Creative Commons License

Md. welfare benefits better than most European countries, think-tank claims

A new report by libertarian think-tank Cato Institute asserts that Maryland’s welfare benefits are higher than almost every European country, with the exception of Denmark and the United Kingdom.

“It’s clear that welfare benefits in Maryland are sufficiently high that they can act as a disincentive to work,” said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and lead author of the study. “Maryland should be re-examining its welfare policies to put more emphasis on work.”

Public Safety Secretary Stephen Moyer at podium testifies Wednesday to the Board of Public Works, foreground from left, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Gov. Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp. Photo by Governor's Office.

Rascovar: Prison layoffs another example of ready, fire, aim?

A real-life drama -- and personal tragedy -- played out last week when the Maryland Board of Public Works took up the Hogan administration's request to fire 59 state workers who don't deserve to be coldly thrown out of their jobs. Most of them have earned sterling performance reviews. They have worked diligently for the state responsibly handling personnel matters. Yet now they have been accused -- unfairly and without a whisper of truth -- of being part of the state prison system's "rampant criminal activity" and "corruption."

Redistricting Reform Commission holds first meeting. Photo by Rebecca Lessner, MarylandReporter.com

Redistricting Reform Commission holds first meeting with just 10 weeks to act

Gov. Larry Hogan’s 11-member Redistricting Reform Commission, created on Aug. 6 by executive order, met for first time near the State House Thursday where they outlined their first steps to reform the process of drawing Maryland’s congressional and legislative district lines. They have less than 10 weeks to finish their work and make recommendations to the governor and legislature.

From left: Min Xu, counselor at Chinese embassy; Nobuko Sasae, wife of Japan's ambassador; First Lady Yumi Hogan; Seon-Hwa Lee, wife of Korea's ambassador; Mi Schill Kim, chair Maryland-Gyeongsangnam Sister State Committee; Kikko Murray, chair of Maryland-Kanagawa Sister State Committee; and Bob Zhang, chair of Maryland-Anhui Sister State Committee.

Asian Sister State programs honor First Lady Yumi Hogan

Maryland's Asian Sister States program, along with representatives of the ambassadors of China, Korea and Japan, honored First Lady Yumi Hogan at a welcome reception Thursday hosted by UMBC's Asian Studies Program. Mrs. Hogan, a native of South Korea, is the first Asian American to serve as a state's first lady in the country.

Comptroller Peter Franchot

Franchot flips out over standardized testing contract

Gov. Hogan said, "I share a lot of concerns that the comptroller has with respect to Pearson, PARCC, and over-testing. We still think we're over-tested." Hogan noted that he had signed into a law a commission to study and make recommendations about the amount of testing in public schools. "Everything [Franchot] said, I agree with," Hogan said. But "if we don't do it, it could be worse."

Gov. Larry Hogan in July with members of the regulatory reform commission he had just appointed. Photo by Governor's Office

Maryland needs to improve its regulatory climate

Not all regulations are bad, of course. Many serve important purposes, most especially those directly related to protecting public health and safety in carefully targeted ways. But all regulations impose costs upon those they affect, be they ordinary citizens or business. And, this is the important point: these regulatory costs -- although 'off-budget' -- have the same economic effect as taxes."
So, just as reducing unnecessary spending is important to improving Maryland's fiscal health, so too is eliminating unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations.