November 14, 2011

State Roundup, November 14, 2011

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WORKPLACE FRAUD ACT: Some businesses are questioning the new Workplace Fraud Act, which targets employers who wrongly classify employees as independent contractors or do not classify them at all. A meeting about the act will be held tomorrow night, reports Kevin James Shay of the Gazette.

FREEMAN HRABOWSKI: The nineteen-year president of UMBC got an entire segment on “60 Minutes” Sunday night to discuss his leadership on science and math education and the Meyerhoff scholars program.

EDUCATION SPENDING: Mark Newgent of Red Maryland takes a look at the growth of education spending throughout the state of Maryland and whether educational outcomes are reflected in the added cost.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: Annie Linskey and Jessica Anderson of the Sun write about the recent the efforts of the growing field of gubernatorial hopefuls to fill their campaign war chests.

PORT OF BALTIMORE: The Sun’s Michael Dresser writes about the ports of Baltimore and Norfolk, which were once head-to-head rivals with Baltimore usually on the losing end. And that is no longer the case.

WHY PLANMARYLAND? MarylandReporter.com begins a four-part series examining PlanMaryland, the state’s land use plan that was first discussed 40 years ago. Megan Poinski writes.

ALTERNATIVE TO LOCKUP: For the first time, Baltimore girls going through the juvenile justice system now have an alternative to detention while waiting to be adjudicated, Jessica Talson of Capital News Service reports in the Daily Record. Instead of being locked up in a state-run facility, girls can be ordered to attend a youth monitoring program that allows them to live at home and attend a reporting center.

BECHTEL MOVE: Bechtel Corp.’s decision to move several divisions and 625 employees from Maryland to Virginia will pay off quickly for Virginia in corporate and personal income taxes, but the mega-contractor will have to wait years before it collects most of the grant that the commonwealth has promised it, Michael Neibauer and Daniel Sernovitz report for the Washington Business Journal.

INTERNET SALES TAX: The Sun editorial board takes Comptroller Peter Franchot to task for being “too easily scared off” from fighting locally to collect Internet sales taxes.

ANTI-BUSINESS: The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times says Maryland must drop the anti-business facade, but must also maintain its infrastructure, but avoid tax hikes.

REGRESSIVE TAX: Columnist Don Kornreich of Frederick News-Post opines that Maryland is such a progressive state, but the gas tax is such a regressive tax.

TOURISM GROWS: Early reports show the state’s tourism industry continues to grow amid the flagging economy, taking in $359 million in fiscal 2011, reports Lindsey Robbins for the Gazette. That was up 5.1% over fiscal ’10, outpacing the 3.6% growth of overall sales taxes by 40%, the Bureau of Revenue Estimates reports.

MD GOP IN RED: Maryland’s Republican Party is once again in the red and plans to move its party headquarters to cut costs, Annie Linskey reports for the Sun. The party owes $122,000, most of it to two vendors, and has $48,000 in its bank accounts, according to its treasurer.

BONGINO AIDES’ TIRES SLASHED: Two cars belonging to campaign workers for GOP Senate candidate Dan Bongino were vandalized Friday evening as the former Secret Service agent and his volunteers attended the Maryland Republican Convention in Annapolis, John Fritze blogs for the Sun.

DELANEY EXPLORES 6TH CD: John Delaney, Montgomery County bank executive and major donor to the Democratic Party, is exploring a run for the newly drawn 6th Congressional District, Len Lazarick writes at MarylandReporter.com

O’DONNELL CONSIDERS RUN: Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell told GOP delegates Saturday that he’s “considering” a challenge to U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, Annie Linskey blogs for the Sun.

LOLLAR WON’T RUN: Charles Lollar has taken his Republican hat out of the 2012 ring, announcing he will avoid a rematch with U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer for Maryland’s Fifth District and instead focus on “promoting true, fiscally conservative values all across the state of Maryland and supporting those candidates who walk that line,” reports Jeff Newman for SoMdNews.com.

WHY FRANK WON’T RUN: Frank Kratovil, the former Democratic congressman who represented the Eastern Shore, says Maryland’s newly drawn 1st District was “one of the factors” driving his decision not to seek a rematch against Republican Rep. Andy Harris in 2012, John Fritze blogs for the Sun.

O’MALLEY GOES AFTER GOP FIELD: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, accused Rick Perry and the rest of the Republican presidential field of pandering to their party’s extremists and demonstrating “little serious thought” about what they would do if elected, John Wagner blogs for the Post. And today, O’Malley is scheduled to deliver a “Newsmaker” speech at the Press Club on “how Democratic Governors are leading the way on creating jobs and opportunity in the states.”

POLICE SIDE JOBS: Two officers who oversee the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s gambling investigations have side jobs as security guards for the developer building the casino at Arundel Mills, news that shocked the former chairman of the county’s Ethics Commission and several law enforcement experts, Scott Daugherty reports for the Annapolis Capital.

WRONG TYPE OF GROWTH: Regional experts say that Prince George’s County’s growth over the last decade has been anything but smart, as the county’s quest to attract federal agencies has not spurred the type of redevelopment officials desire, writes Ben Giles for the Washington Examiner.

SLOTS VOTE IN PG: The Prince George’s County Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a zoning bill that could effectively ban slots, writes Miranda Spivack of the Post.

MOCO CURFEW: The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote on youth curfew legislation Dec. 6 and may take up a loitering bill that some county officials see as a counter-proposal the following week, Victor Zapana reports for the Post.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: Jessica Anderson of the Sun writes that Blaine Young, president of Frederick County’s board of commissioners, has plans to make Frederick “the most unfriendly county in the state of Maryland to illegal aliens.” And while he said some localities might cringe at such a title, “we wear that with a badge of honor.”

RECALL LAW: The editorial board for the Frederick News-Post says recent protesters against the Frederick County Commissioners may have been feeling buyers’ remorse, but a recall isn’t possible until a law gets on the books.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Mark Ruetter of the Baltimore Brew writes an analysis about the juicy power struggle behind a proposed moratorium on tax breaks for developers. It’s about PILOTs and TIFs and a fight between O’s owner Peter Angelos and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

BOTTLE TAX HIKE: Linda So of WMAR-TV reports on the city’s proposed bottle tax hike and one community organization’s push to use the increase to improve schools. They rallied yesterday in support of the increase.

CECIL CITIZEN QUESTIONS: Cheryl Mattix of the Cecil Whig reports that more than 60 citizens got their chance to get answers to their county government questions from two of Cecil County’s five commissioners at a town hall-style meeting sponsored by the Cecil County Patriots.