Sen. Kagan considers race for Montgomery County executive

Sen. Cheryl Kagan is an unconventional politician, particularly when it comes to fundraising. No breakfast fundraisers or evening receptions for the Gaithersburg senator. Kagan goes more for ice cream socials and afternoon concerts with the kind of singer-songwriters she’s been promoting in house concerts for years, as she did Sunday afternoon at an art gallery in the new Crown section of Gaithersburg, part of District 17.

Rascovar: James Madison, John McCain and Larry Hogan

Washington’s embarrassing health care debacle should not come as a surprise. Two hundred thirty years ago, James Madison warned of just such an appalling spectacle in Federalist Paper No. 10. He pinpointed the cause, as did Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Arizona Sen. John McCain in the past week. 

Pension system investments earned 10% in FY ’17, but long term returns still lag

The investment portfolio of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System returned 10.02% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, raising the assets of the system to $49 billion, an increase of $3.6 billion over last year. That still leaves an unfunded liability of at least $20 billion. The exact amount of the shortfall if all promised benefits had to be paid out immediately has yet to be calculated this year.The year’s performance exceeded the system’s 7.55% target for annual return, and raised the five-year average to 7.64%.

Stormwater rules help create a growing number of jobs

Stormwater management training programs seek to unite a willing yet underemployed workforce with a growing and insatiable need to maintain runoff control structures so Maryland can meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.

Maryland lags behind some states on school spending

Maryland often prides itself on how good its schools are and how much it spends on them. But the Kirwan Commission studying the state’s school funding and how it spends the money was told on Wednesday that Maryland actually lags behind several states with better test scores — Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. On the other hand, compared to countries with top-performing students, U.S. schools spend far more per pupil. The conclusion, according to commission’s lead consultant, is that “money matters but how it is spent matters greatly.” He made a number of key recommendations.

Montgomery businesses ream County Council for reintroducing $15 minimum wage bill before impact study

The Montgomery County business community blasted the majority of the Montgomery County Council for re-introducing a revised $15 minimum wage bill without waiting for a county-ordered economic impact study. “This is a surprise,” said Gigi Godwin, president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “And it’s disappointing. The County Council couldn’t wait for the county government’s report on the facts. Where’s the public policy process? This is baffling.”

A compromise on illegal gun possession in Baltimore: Treat minimum sentences like an emergency public health measure

To try to control the rapid growth in gun violence and get guns of the street, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pushing a new city ordinance that would impose a one-year minimum sentence for carrying an illegal firearm in Baltimore. But a sunset provision could make the measure more palatable, writes Nate Loewentheil.

Government House

Rascovar: Democrats crowd governor’s race

Given Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s widespread popularity, it is difficult to grasp why so many Democrats are jumping into the race for chief executive of Maryland. The June 26 Democratic primary – 11 months from now – looks like it will be so chock full of candidates that it may be impossible to predict the winner.