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.

Club Trump aims to beat Hogan down

Trump’s actions have given Maryland Democrats a bigger club to try to beat down the popularity of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and his chances for reelection. Hogan is not likely to cave into Democratic demands that he publicly stand up to Trump. He’s more likely to bow down to the president in private, and hope for the best. It is not clear what Democrats think having Hogan join them in loudly opposing the president would achieve, other than further alienating a president hyper-sensitive to public criticism and any of his supporters in Maryland.

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.

Opinion: Maryland should focus on careers, not jobs

Keeping a steady focus on careers instead of just creating jobs will help add longevity and health to Maryland’s economy. We must take a hard look at our method for leasing properties, awarding TIFS, and Maryland capital projects funding the construction of hospitals, universities and nonprofits. When thinking of creative ways to address these issues we must put a central focus on registered apprenticeships.

Collins: Politics as usual on Prince George’s County hospital

Prince George’s County elected officials, including the Senate president, are lobbying hard to prevent the Anne Arundel County Medical Center from getting a cardiac surgery program they say may take patients from their hospital. Columnist Michael Collins calls it politics as usual.

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.

Columbia at 50 Part 7: HEALTH CARE: Planning for a healthy community — an innovative HMO, a hospital fight and the quest for wellness

Health care was another key element the original Columbia planners focused on in their 1964 work sessions. Unlike the schools, land use, water, sewer and political structure, for which the Rouse Co. planners eventually would turn to government institutions that already existed in Howard County, they would need to look beyond its borders for help. The opening of the Columbia Hospital and Clinics in 1973, would be one of the most controversial aspects of Columbia’s early years. Its creation was fraught with community tension, political discord and hostility among competing groups, creating ill-will outside of Columbia that would last for decades. Links to all parts of the series published so far are at the bottom of the article.

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.

Opinion: Legislature can make healthy decisions on fracking, renewable energy

Two public health and medical professionals write that they see the health of Marylanders is an overarching issue connecting two important pieces of unfinished business facing our state legislators in this session. One is passing a ban on hydraulic fracturing – “fracking.” The second is overriding the Governor’s veto of bipartisan legislation to increase our state’s target for renewable energy