November 30, 2009

State Roundup, November 30, 2009

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State income tax payments to counties were down drastically in November, Larry Carson writes in The Baltimore Sun. Local governments are concerned because that is the first month that the state begins to parcel out payments from the income tax revenues.

Smith Island residents are hoping that the dessert trade can help their local economy, and using Maryland’s year- old designation of the Smith Island Cake as the official state dessert will help stimulate the economy on the state’s only inhabited Chesapeake Bay island.  Christy Goodman in The Washington Post takes a look at a new baking company hoping to gross $1 million per year off of the many-layered, chocolate frosted sweets.

Maryland’s state’s attorneys are pushing for changes to a new law that allows people who have been convicted with a crime to attempt to later prove their innocence. Both sides agree that the law needs to be tweaked, Tricia Bishop writes in The Sun, but don’t agree about how.

Winemakers are going to push for legislation to allow them to ship their products directly to customers, as they have in recent years, Laura Smitherman reports in the Sun.

The Sun’s editorial page writers believe Gov. Martin O’Malley and state education chief Nancy Grasmick are moving too slowly in their attempts to grab a share of $5 billion in federal education funding pegged to state reform efforts.

The editorial page is calling on Monday for the extension of Maryland’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which is set to expire after next year and would have to be extended by the General Assembly in its next session.

Meg Tully at the Frederick News-Post took a look at Jefferson County, W. Va.’s consideration of table games to go along with the slot machines at Charles Town Races and Slots. Maryland lawmakers think it will pass, and some worry it will draw business away from Maryland’s not-yet-opened slots parlors.

Richard Belisle in The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail has an interview with the General Manager of Charles Town, and some local coverage on the debate. The county votes on Dec. 5.

Liam Farrell with The Capital examines the state’s international business outreach efforts.

Environmental groups will be pushing for policy-oriented goals during the legislative session, such as transit-oriented development and fees on impervious surfaces that lead to increased runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, reports Sean Sedam at The Gazette.

Maryland’s contingent of State Police officers has shrunk slightly since 1995, Alan Brody reports in The Gazette. This makes the state one of 12 where the force has failed to keep up with population growth.

Maryland firearm deer hunting season began this weekend, so make room for some venison. The Cumberland Times-News has coverage.

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, runs the numbers on an O’Malley-Ehrlich rematch in the Gazette.

Paul West writes in The Sun’s Maryland political blog that some state Republicans are concerned about Sen. Andy Harris’s ability to shake Sen. E.J. Pipkin in a potential primary matchup next year. The two faced off against incumbent Rep. Wayne Gilchrest last year before Harris lost to Democrat Frank Kratovil in the general election.