July 28, 2011

State Roundup, July 28, 2011

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STATE SELLS BONDS: While discord over the national debt and budget cutting sizzled yesterday in Washington, the Board of Public Works approved the sale of $512 million in state bonds at some of the lowest rates ever – and had harsh words for uncompromising Republicans in Congress, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

DEBT CEILING: Chris Knauss, in the Easton Star Democrat, reports on the stands that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski amd Rep. Andy Harris have taken concerning the debt ceiling crisis and how others view their positions.

Following up on earlier stories, WBAL-TV’s Jayne Miller reports on the debt ceiling crisis and the impact it could have on Maryland.

John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that Maryland government is keeping a close eye on the crisis, trying to determine how badly the state will be impacted.

Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM discusses the issue with Robert Creamer, a political strategist and consultant and a partner at Democracy Partners, and Charles Lollar, Maryland director of Americans for Prosperity.

Like the federal government, Frederick County residents are divided over the proper solutions to the crisis, writes Stephanie Mlot of the Frederick News Post.

TOLL HIKES RECONSIDERED: Earl Kelly of the Annapolis Capital reports that public opposition to the planned tripling of tolls for the Bay Bridge and other facilities is causing state transportation officials to reconsider some of the rate increases.

SOLAR LEASE APPROVED: Steve Kilar of the Sun writes that the Board of Public Works approved the lease of state prison land in Hagerstown to a solar energy company for 20 years. The lease was granted at a price of $32,050 per year for 250 acres.

Comptroller Peter Franchot questioned the lease proposal, particularly why the state didn’t try to share a $24 million federal grant the project would get, reports Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

The land is currently being used for farming, reports Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

MCDONOUGH TO CHALLENGE CARDIN? State Del. Pat McDonough announced to his colleagues at the House Republican Caucus Meeting that he would be running for U.S. Senate in 2012, challenging incumbent Ben Cardin, according to Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland.

METRO CENTRE: Thanks to the intervention of the Maryland Department of Transportation, ground will be broken today for the first building in the long-stalled $220 million Metro Centre at Owings Mills project, Barbara Pash reports for MarylandReporter.com.

LEGISLATION DELAY: Legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Andy Harris that would direct federal money to study oxygen-starved “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico is facing criticism from some environmentalists who are concerned that the measure would prioritize research over action, writes John Fritze of the Sun.

MANUFACTURING DIES OUT: The closing of BP Solar in Frederick County, opines the editorial board of the Frederick News Post, is just the latest sign that does not bode well for manufacturing in the United States.

BAKER GETS THUMBS UP: Gwendolyn Glenn of the Laurel Leader writes that those attending Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s barbecue fund-raiser give him  a thumbs up after eight months in office.