HOGAN SEEKS TO EXPAND TAX CREDIT: Gov. Larry Hogan wants to spend $6 million a year to expand a tax credit program that gives certain job-creating businesses a decade-long reprieve from some state taxes, Erin Cox of the Sun reports. Hogan announced his plan Wednesday, saying that the existing job creation program has been so popular in its inaugural year that he thinks Maryland should expand it
- The existing program provides manufacturing businesses in eight high-unemployment jurisdictions with relief from state sales taxes, along with property and income taxes, if they add at least five jobs and provide workers with skills training, Josh Hicks of the Post reports. Manufacturers in four other counties qualify solely for income-tax credits if they create at least 10 jobs. Hogan’s proposal would tweak the program, providing the full slate of tax breaks to all 12 jurisdictions while allowing them to apply the tax relief to three additional industries of their choices.
- Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that Washington County was named a “Tier 1” county under the legislation in June, entitling the county to the maximum incentives available. But some, including state Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Washington/Allegany/Garrett, wanted to see the incentives extended to other businesses beyond manufacturing.
- Hogan’s announcement also includes $33 million to launch a partnership with the University System of Maryland to increase the number of degrees awarded in the science, technology, engineering and math fields and funding to provide matching grants for internship stipends under the Maryland Technology Internship Program writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.
HOPKINS VIOLATES STATE PACT, WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS: The Johns Hopkins Hospital System has been violating its revenue agreement with the state of Maryland by favoring out-of-state patients over in-state residents in an effort to raise profits, according to an amended whistleblower lawsuit Wednesday. Anamika Roy of the Daily Record reports that Anthony C. Campos, who worked as director of patient access operations for more than six years ending in January, claims Hopkins has given out-of-state patients priority access to health care services over Maryland residents since December 2014.
JUDGES ASK LAWMAKERS TO CLARIFY RULES: Three judges who order inmates to treatment in mental health facilities asked state lawmakers Wednesday to help set clear rules on how long people can languish in jail waiting to be transferred for psychiatric care — and who will be held responsible if that deadline passes, Erin Cox is reporting in the Sun.
HOGAN AGAIN GOES AFTER REDISTRICTING PROCESS: Gov. Larry Hogan says he’ll try again to make congressional redistricting a nonpartisan process, reports Brian Witte of the Associated Press. Hogan, a Republican, said Wednesday he will submit legislation in the next session to create an independent commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Now, the governor and lawmakers craft them. Hogan has made the reform proposal in each of his three years as governor, but it has not advanced.
MIXED GRADES FOR MD. BUDGET PRACTICES: In public debates about the budgetary soundness of state government finances, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing and cloudy media reporting. The legendary former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance in 2013 with the aim of enhancing government responsiveness by improving how governments work. In its report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality? the Volcker Alliance paints a mixed picture for Maryland. Charlie Hayward analyzes the report for MarylandReporter.com.
SIGN UP NOW: The editorial board of the Carroll County Times urges Marylanders who are planning on signing up for the Affordable Care Act to do so now, writing that procrastinators shouldn’t dawdle any longer. Unlike in previous years when the deadline to shop and sign up for insurance came at the end of January, even with the extended deadline this year, it’ll need to be done by Friday, Dec. 22.
CASHLESS RX POST SHOPS: As Maryland’s first medical marijuana dispensaries began opening this month, some are turning to a cashless payment system they hope will make transactions safer and more convenient, writes Lorraine Mirabella for the Sun.
MACo OFFICERS: If you were wondering who the new officers and board members of the Maryland Association of Counties are, Maryland Matters runs the list.
CRIME AS POLITICS: State lawmakers set to return to Annapolis next month to debate legislation during an election year. But Baltimore’s surging violent crime is already being propelled to the center of Maryland politics, Doug Donovan of the Sun reports. When Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced his plan to reduce crime in Baltimore last week, Democrats pounced. Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh declined an invitation to attend the announcement, and said Hogan’s strategy offered no new ideas. It was a popular talking point echoed in tweets by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who hopes to be Hogan’s Democratic challenger in November’s election, and Democratic former governor Martin O’Malley.
DEM GUBERNATORIAL FORUM: The eight Democrats vying to be Maryland’s next governor are scheduled to make their pitches to a large crowd of political, business and civic leaders at a breakfast forum this morning in Montgomery County, Robert McCartney and Rachel Siegel of the Post write.
YOUNG REPUBLICAN: One of the common refrains James Dvorak hears when he’s out door-knocking is that he’s “too young” to be a politician. “And people are right. I’m not a politician,” the 24-year-old Republican said Tuesday night, during an official kickoff event for his run to represent District 3A in the Maryland House of Delegates, reports Danielle Gaines for the Frederick News-Post.
ENVIRO ENDORSEMENTS: Seventh State blog presents the early endorsements in the General Assembly from both the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the Maryland Sierra Club.
LIBERTARIANS HOPE TO UNSEAT BROWN, HOYER: Two Anne Arundel County Libertarians are hoping distrust and frustration with the U.S. government will buoy their U.S. congressional chances, writes Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital. Arnold resident Dave Bishop is running for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown. Shady Side resident Jacob Pulcher is running for the seat of long-time Rep. Steny Hoyer.
FREDERICK SCHOOL CALENDAR: Frederick County schools will be closed on Yom Kippur and Election Day during the 2018-2019 school year, writes Allen Etzler for the Frederick News Post. The county Board of Education backtracked on its proposed calendar late Wednesday night and instead approved the original recommended calendar brought to them by the calendar committee.
HOGAN ON ROY MOORE LOSS: One day after Roy Moore’s flameout in the Alabama special Senate election, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the outcome was no surprise, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. Talking to reporters at a news conference called to announce part of his legislative agenda for 2018, Hogan noted that he “was the first, or one of the first, Republican governors in the country to call on Roy Moore to withdraw” from the race.