Browsing the "News" Category

Analysis: Tax-weary Assembly leery of gas tax hike

February 12th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

A tax-weary legislature has no stomach to raise needed transportation revenues. Everybody agrees that a good transportation network of roads, highways, bridges and mass transit are an essential underpinning of the Maryland economy. But there’s no agreement on how to pay for this transportation system in the 21st century.

Motor Vehicle Administration reduces costs as transactions rise

February 11th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

While other units of the Maryland Department of Transportation have been roughed up at budget subcommittees in recent weeks, the Motor Vehicle Administration breezed through Friday before a Senate panel. MVA came away unscathed from legislative budget cutters mainly because its number of transactions last year was up 3% to 12.1 million while its costs went down .4% and the productivity of its employees was up

Proposed voter ID law again draws hot debate in Annapolis

February 10th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

Republican legislators are back again, pushing controversial voter identification laws after failed attempts in prior years. Sponsored by Republican Dels. Nic Kipke, Kathy Afzali and 32 other Republicans, but no Democrats, the contentious bill sparked heated debate last week in the House Ways & Means Committee.

Montgomery Republicans striving to turn county purple in 2014

February 10th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

With the help of state party leaders and a lot of data, the Montgomery County Republican Party – which boasts the largest number of registered Republicans in the state – launched an all out ground game Saturday at their annual convention in Rockville. Their goal in this targeted effort is to change Montgomery County from blue to purple by the 2014 election

Drug treatment advocates protest funding cuts to Md. rehab centers

February 7th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

Drug treatment advocates and addiction counselors testified at a budget hearing Wednesday to protest a proposed $4.5 million cut to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration budget, which they said would have a devastating impact on Maryland’s cash-strapped drug treatment programs.

Two dozen delegates seek repeal of septic system limits

February 7th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

Residents of the Eastern Shore and other parts of rural Maryland are up in arms to defend their land rights which they believe are under threat as a result of last year’s environmental legislation commonly referred to as the Septic Bill. Dozens of farmers and Maryland-natives rallied behind Del. Michael McDermott, R-Worcester, at a hearing Wednesday in the House Environmental Matters Committee on McDermott’s proposal to repeal the controversial bill.

Proposals to reinforce Open Meetings compliance face hearing

February 6th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

Bills to increase compliance with the Open Meetings Act by public bodies in Maryland and stiffen penalties for violating the law will get a hearing Thursday afternoon in the House Health and Government Operations Committee. One of the bills, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim who chairs the Government Operations Subcommittee, is significantly different than what initially reported in January

Lawmakers continue debate over transit spending

February 6th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

The debate over transportation funding in the Maryland General Assembly moved to the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday, with some senators arguing for more transit spending and others claiming that the state devotes too many resources to its transit system already. For the second time in five days, the Maryland transportation secretary was confronted with tough questions from lawmakers, who asked him why drivers should pay for the cost of running the transit system

Tax breaks for textbooks offered as way to hold down college costs

February 5th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

With the cost of college tuition and textbooks on the rise, legislators are proposing sales tax breaks on textbooks in hopes of providing financial relief to students. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Sheila Hixson and Del. Michael Smigiel advocated different versions of textbook tax breaks before her committee Tuesday. Smigiel, R-Cecil, outlined a plan for year-round tax exemption on textbooks, while Hixson proposed setting a limited time period during which students can purchase their books tax-free

Republican delegates question use of highway funds for transit, other programs

February 4th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

The state transportation secretary got an earful from Republican delegates on the Appropriations Committee Friday. The Republicans wanted to know how much transportation funding had really been diverted to other programs and questioned why more transportation money was spent on mass transit than on public roads this year

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