August 1, 2012

State Roundup, Aug. 1, 2012

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CITY CASINO OK’D: Michael Dresser of the Sun reports that Maryland officials gave the go-ahead for a two-story casino near the Camden Yards stadium complex in Baltimore City yesterday while letting the developers of a Western Maryland casino scale back their plans for Rocky Gap.

Caesars officials said they plan to open a Harrah’s-brand facility with 3,750 slot machines by mid-2014, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

And, writes John Wagner of the Post, the Rocky Gap developers asked for approval of a plan for 500 machines, as opposed to 850, in a casino that will be built inside the existing lodge, in what is now a meeting space, instead of a newly constructed separate building.

CORDISH SEEKS TAX SLASH: With a General Assembly special session on gambling only nine days away, four members of the Anne Arundel County delegation met yesterday with Joe Weinberg of the Cordish Cos., developer of Maryland Live! casino in Hanover, writes Earl Kelly of the Capital-Gazette.

The Cordish Cos. is seeking a steep reduction in the tax rate it pays on slots revenue, a delay in the opening date of a Prince George’s facility, legalization of Internet gaming and restrictions on future changes to Maryland’s gambling program, among other provisions, John Wagner writes in the Post.

BAKER REVEALS WIFE’S DEMENTIA: On the front page of The Washington Post print edition, Miranda Spivack interviews Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker about the toughest challenge he is facing: His wife Christa Beverly’s dementia, which is worsening.

NON-PROFIT TIES TO BAKER: Meanwhile, Jim McElhatton and Andrea Noble of the Washington Times is reporting that officials at the Bowie-based Path to Greatness have continued to raise thousands of dollars from donors while counting Rusher Baker’s wife as a trustee, an arrangement that critics say opens up another avenue for special interests to curry favor with his administration.

STATE WORKER SALARIES: A total of 1,165 state workers earn at least $200,000 — 500 Virginia state employees and 665 in Maryland – placing them among the hundreds of state workers who earn more than even the governors in each state, writes Ben Giles in the Washington Examiner. MarylandReporter.com reported the Maryland side of the story in March with slightly different results.

BGE DEFENDS RECOVERY: The Sun’s Scott Dance reports that BGE is telling state regulators that the company struggled to muster the out-of-state crews from partner utilities needed to restore hundreds of thousands of power outages in the days after a deadly derecho struck June 29.

“We restored about the same number of customers as we did during Irene in this storm. We did it with about a thousand less workers, many of which were from out of state, and didn’t get here till two and a half days into restoration,” WBFF-TV quotes Rob Gould of BGE.

NO STRONG ARM TACTICS: Don’t lay down the law, don’t throw your weight around, don’t come in like a blunderbuss with threats and scare tactics. Don’t protect one person’s interests at the expense of another’s, opines Tim Roland of the Bay Journal News Service for MarylandReporter.com. Those tactics will not work for those responsible for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay’s headwaters.

CANDIDATE GUNS FOR 4th DISTRICT: Gun are certainly on the mind of Maryland 4th congressional district Republican candidate Faith Loudon, who’s planning a shooting-themed fundraiser with her “very special guest” National Rifle Association President David Keane, reports Jill Rosen of the Sun.

BARTLETT-DELANEY POLL: David Moon of Maryland Juice compiles articles about incumbent U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and his challenger, Democrat John Delaney, as he reports that a new poll doesn’t bode well for Bartlett.