April 29, 2014

State Roundup, April 29, 2014

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SALARY DATABASES: The Annapolis Capital is running a large, searchable database of salaries of University of Maryland System employees and Maryland government employees. The source is the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland. You can search by last name as well.

TWO ECONOMIC MARYLANDS: A Baltimore City-based economist Monday called on state and local economic officials to address a growing economic gap among jurisdictions in Maryland, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. “There’s this notion of one Maryland,” said Anirban Basu, of Sage Policy Group. “I’ve always viewed it as a fiction but what I am suggesting to you is that it’s becoming more fictional each and every passing year.”

PRIVATE, PUBLIC RETURNS: Marylanders spend within their means and get a decent return on investment when comparing taxes and quality of government services, a personal finance website has found. Meg Tully of MarylandReporter.com reports that Wallethub.com ranked Maryland first in the country for residents with the most sustainable spending habits, and ranked the state at an unremarkable 33rd when it comes to return on investment for state taxpayers.

PETROL POLL FINDS PRODUCTION BACKED: Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of MarylandReporter.com reports that a majority of Marylanders favor increased tapping of natural gas and oil in the state, according to a new poll, conducted on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and the Maryland Petroleum Council. It found that 88% agreed with the idea that increased production of gas and oil would stimulate the economy, while 91% favor the development of national energy infrastructure.

SMART METERS: Jamie Smith Hopkins of the Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. can’t install smart meters for some customers because they don’t want the technology, but the utility also faces a logistical challenge in tens of thousands of other cases: There’s no way to get to the old meter to switch it out.

ATTORNEY GENERAL DEBATES:The three Democratic candidates for state attorney general have scheduled two debates before the June 24 primary. The contenders will meet May 19 at the University of Maryland College Park and June 9 at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Jeff Barker writes for the Sun.

HOUSE DISTRICT 30B: In its continuing introduction of candidates in Anne Arundel County, the Annapolis Capital runs an op-ed by Mitchelle Stephenson, who is running for the House of Delegates in the new District 30B, Southern Anne Arundel County. She writes that in canvassing, voters seem to be confused by two things: first, that Southern Anne Arundel County has been redistricted, and second, that the primary is earlier this year, on June 24.

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COLBURNS IN DISTRICT 37: The estranged wife of Sen. Richard Colburn may have considered a run against her husband for his state senate seat in November’s election, reports Brian Shane for the Salisbury Daily Times. According to court documents, Alma Colburn had been encouraged by members of the community to run for the District 37 Senate seat held by her husband since 1995. (She ultimately did not file for the seat.)

POWER IN DISTRICT 43: Bill Henry paints an unflattering image of the influential state senator he’s trying to unseat. Joan Carter Conway, he says, doesn’t attend enough community meetings. She has a history of siding with special interests. And, he contends, she has let her powerful committee chairmanship in the General Assembly lead to an inflated view of her significance. Conway, a member of the Assembly since 1997, has a concise response for that line of argument: If Bill Henry wins, North Baltimore will be stripped of its leverage, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

THE LGs FUTURES: It’s not an exaggeration to say that some of the candidates for lieutenant governor are considerably more appealing than their principals. And because only one of them is going to wind up as lieutenant governor, it’s interesting to contemplate what some of these No. 2’s might do next in politics. Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland ponders their futures.

MONEY, MEDIA & MIZEUR: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and John Willis of the University of Baltimore talk about this history of gubernatorial elections in Maryland and why voters often look for a change in style, and how money, media and message could coalesce for Heather Mizeur.

RON GEORGE, ACTOR, JEWELER: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ron George usually keeps quiet about the flashiest part of his biography. But as he fielded a question about film tax credits at a candidates forum last week, George let slip that he had a brief and unglamorous career as a daytime soap opera actor and even had a bit part as a reporter next to Robert Downey Jr., Erin Cox reports in the Sun.

BROWN AD TOUTS EDUCATION: Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown touts his plans for education, as well as an endorsement from the state’s largest teachers lobby, in his latest television ad, writes John Wagner for the Post.

DUNCAN & DEPRESSION: Bill Turque of the Post writes that politics was always a passion and a joy for Doug Duncan, even as a boy campaigning with his mother in Rockville on behalf of John F. Kennedy. But by his third term as Montgomery County executive, elected life had become a miserable daily ritual. Now, as he seeks to regain that former position, Duncan is talking about his depression and using it as part of his campaign message.

PARACHUTES IN FREDERICK: Seventeen Frederick County employees are set to pack up their desks and retire Thursday with $25,000 bonuses to sweeten their departures, reports Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News Post. The employees took advantage of an incentive program created by commissioners to encourage retirements and shrink the county workforce.

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