October 10, 2013

State Roundup, October 10, 2013

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TAX RANKING: Maryland retained its tenth-worst ranking in the Tax Foundation’s latest study of state tax climates for businesses, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins in the Sun. The Tax Foundation said Maryland’s corporate tax rate is better structured than in many states — ranking 15th — and its sales tax made the top 10, in part because local jurisdictions don’t have add-ons to the state rate. But the state’s overall position was pulled down by its broader tax structure, including the rates it charges on individual income, unemployment insurance and property.

PRINCE G’S CASINO MEETINGS: While a Prince George’s County casino is inevitable, some residents say it isn’t too late to have an impact on what the new gaming facility will bring to the community, writes Chase Cook in the Gazette. Community activists who had opposed a casino are urging residents to attend a series of meetings later this month regarding the selection of a company and a site to build the casino. The casino will be Maryland’s sixth and the first in the county.

CURBING YOUTH GAMBLING: This state is betting much of its future on the revenue-raising potential of gambling — first the Maryland Lottery, then slot machines, then table games. So a cynic might see it as inconsistent for government officials to try to ward off problem gambling among teens and young adults,  writes an editorial in the Capital. Why thin the next generation of compulsive gamblers before they can start tossing wads of their money into the coffers of the state and the casino operators?

ANTI-OBAMACARE DOCS: Dan Rodricks of the Sun writes about U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the doctor who hates Obamacare but has government-subsidized insurance through Congress. Harris represents two counties with Maryland’s highest numbers of uninsured.

Dave Zurawik, television critic for the Sun, takes a look at another Maryland doctor who is against Obamacare, Ben Carson, who is now a paid talker for Fox News. Carson, who recently said he was targeted by the IRS after criticizing President Obama, appeared on one show calling Obama a communist. A video of the appearance tops the story.

CONGRESSIONAL PAY: During the government shutdown, some Maryland members of Congress are keeping their pay, and others are not. On MarylandReporter.com there’s an interactive graphic prepared by Capital News Service.

O’MALLEY STUMPS: Gov. Martin O’Malley spent the past two days stumping and raising cash for Democrats in Florida and Ohio as the term-limited governor launched into a busy fall travel schedule that will bring him to states crucial for building a potential bid for president in 2016, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

GEORGE’S PLATFORM: Republican candidate for governor Del. Ron George, in an op-ed in the Capital-Gazette, outlines his pro-business, pro-education campaign platform.

GANSLER ON RUNNING: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM speaks with Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler about his bid to be Maryland’s next governor.

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BROWN’S BEVY OF CHAIRS: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown unveiled a roster Wednesday of leading Democrats who will serve as co-chairs of his Democratic gubernatorial campaign in the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun. The release of the list came a day before Brown is expected to receive the endorsement of House Speaker Michael Busch at a news conference in Busch’s hometown of Annapolis.

Among other things, you can find the very long list here, at Maryland Juice.

LEGGETT’S RUN: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has a solid job approval rating (64%). Better than two-thirds of likely Democratic primary voters (68%) believe that the county is headed in the right direction. But, writes Bill Turque of the Post, that doesn’t make Leggett a lock for a third term in 2014.

CYBERBULLYING: Since most of its students have grown up using technology from a young age, Carroll County Public Schools are now working to combat the newest form of bullying — cyberbullying, writes Alisha George in the Carroll County Times.

FREDERICK’S COMMON CORE: Frederick County’s Board of Education voted on Wednesday to revise parts of its curriculum to align with Common Core State Standards, another step of the rollout now in its third year, reports Rachel Karas for the Frederick News Post. The board stood 6-1 in favor of the revisions, with Colleen Cusimano the only member opposed.

WA CO GOVT REORGANIZATION: As part of a major reorganization approved unanimously on Tuesday by the Washington County Board of Commissioners, some county employees are being reassigned, a new Division of Public Works director appointed and a Department of Business Development created, reports Don Aines for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.