Rascovar: Giving Frosh his independence

You can’t blame Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr., for getting irritated over the Maryland attorney general’s new authority – granted by the General Assembly – to sue the federal government without the governor’s permission. This strips Hogan of a smidgen of his enormous powers. Yet if the Republican chief executive truly wished to stop this slight weakening of his powers all he did to do was pick up the phone and negotiate a compromise.

Rascovar: Avoiding Maryland’s Pension Reality

No one wants to face up to Maryland’s giant $19 billion long-term shortfall in its retirement program for state workers and teachers, writes columnist Barry Rascovar. Not the Republican governor nor the Democratic legislature. Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for a dramatic change – an optional 401(k)-style retirement program for new state employees. It sounds good but falls apart when examined close up.

Rascovar: Hogan and the Trump elephant in the room

You can chalk up his most recent State of the State speech to political hype and self-congratulatory back-patting. If there’s anything wrong happening in Maryland, it’s not his fault but those self-absorbed Democrats. Nary a negative word was sounded by Hogan – until he took some swipes at Democrats. There’s no surprise here, writes Barry Rascovar. What did come as a surprise was Hogan’s complete avoidance of the proverbial elephant in the room – widespread fear and trembling as a radical populist takes charge of the U.S. government just 32 miles away.

Rascovar: Hogan politicizes ethics reforms

On Thursday, Hogan posed in front of the State House steps so he could rail against the “culture of corruption” in Maryland’s legislature – though evidence of this “culture” is limited to a handful of examples. Then he marched up the steps in photo-op fashion to present his ethics reform bills to House and Senate officials. Columnist Barry Rascovar writes that Hogan’s bombastic rhetoric on legislative corruption also was understandable. It’s all about positioning Hogan in his reelection bid as the white knight doing battle with evil Democrats in the General Assembly.

Rascovar: ‘Honest Prince George’ continues decades of corruption

Back when I was a naïve and newbie political reporter covering the Maryland General Assembly in the early 1970s, I was baffled when legislators joked in lounges and hallways about “Honest Prince George.” I found out soon enough it was a jovial but derogatory reference to the questionable “pay for play” politics practiced by some leaders of Prince George’s County. Now “Honest Prince George’s” has surfaced again.

Rascovar: Maryland’s demeaning ‘Begathon’ continues

Here we go again. In a few weeks, school superintendents will trek, en masse, to the second floor of the Maryland State House to grovel before the Board of Public Works for additional school construction funds. It is a demeaning “begathon” that long ago outlived its usefulness and turned into a political circus allowing the governor and comptroller to praise and reward their friends in the counties and humiliate their enemies.

Rascovar: Re-imagining State Center

As an early New Year’s gift to Maryland taxpayers, Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. delivered the final blow to an outrageously priced scheme aimed at turning over to private investors the 28-acre State Center complex in Baltimore for redevelopment.

Hogan’s predecessor, Gov. Martin O’Malley, had pushed hard for the State Center deal in a way that benefited the developers but left the state with unconscionably high rental payments for the next half-century – beginning at $30 million-plus per year, escalating by 15 percent every five years.

Rascovar: Hogan’s holiday hoax — the ‘road kill bill’

You’ve got to hand it to Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. What a prankster he is!

He’s pulled off one of the great holiday hoaxes of recent times in Maryland. He’s got everyone convinced he is willing to kill 66 major highway projects in Maryland in order to get the legislature to repeal a law requiring a transparent advisory evaluation and ranking of big road, bridge and transit proposals.

Rascovar: What Hogan, Pugh & Mikulski have in common

Some politicians are adjusting to Donald Trump’s victory while others are wailing like it’s the end of democracy, organizing pointless protests a full five weeks before he even takes office. In Maryland both kinds of politicos – the realists and the hopeless idealists – have been on display recently. Count Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. and new Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh among the pragmatists. They want to deal with reality on the ground.