August 13th, 2014 | by Len Lazarick
Top state officials on Wednesday approved spending $16 billion over the next 10 years on health insurance for over 200,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents. One of the largest contracts ever granted, the three-member Board of Public Works approved it at a meeting dominated by discussion of the positives and negatives of health care delivery in Maryland, including serious patient care problems at a state hospital in Hagerstown.
July 17th, 2014 | by Len Lazarick
It was the coolest Tawes Crab Feast in memory. The political-social event of the summer in Crisfield on the Lower Eastern Shore is usually a scorcher in the 90s, but Wednesday was in the low 80s with cool breezes off the bay and low humidity at least at the outset. There was a peculiar lack of candidates this year, perhaps due to the June 24 primary that eliminated many of them. Here's a photo gallery of some of the folks who did show up.
July 6th, 2014 | by Len Lazarick
The $77 million in budget cuts approved last week by the Maryland Board of Public Works mark the first recognition there's a price to be paid for placing election-year politics ahead of fiscal realities. It won't be the last spending pullback, either.
Maryland has a serious, ongoing imbalance between its high spending habits and its lower than expected revenue receipts. Everyone knew this was coming
February 27th, 2014 | by Len Lazarick
In unusual joint testimony, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot, chair and vice-chair of the state pension board, pleaded with Senate budgeters not to permanently cut $100 million in state payments to the retirement system. They said the cut proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley had high long-term repercussions and undermined the state's credibility with bond rating agencies by reneging on promises made in 2011 pension reforms
January 19th, 2014 | by Len Lazarick
Money can't buy you love, but in campaigns, it can buy you lots of other things: attention, status, respect, advertising, mailers, staff and headlines. The candidates with the most money don't always win. But they win most of the time since they often happen to be incumbents. An incumbent in any office with solid money in the bank, high name recognition and low negatives will win
December 18th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick
Maryland is taking on a significant fiscal role in developing the tests that will assess students based on Common Core curriculum standards, agreeing to administer $96 million in federal grants to create the tests.
September 25th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick
The O'Malley administration on Wednesday successfully pushed to raise next year's bond authorization to $1.16 billion, $75 million more than this year, rejecting objections by state Comptroller Peter Franchot that "we're adding another Christmas tree ornament."
"We can't afford it," Franchot told the Capital Debt Affordability Committee, saying it should stick to this year's bond authorization of $1,085,000,
September 20th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick
At the hot high-tech end of the Maryland economy Thursday, Gov. Martin O'Malley was cutting a ribbon to open a spiffy renovated building for cybersecurity firm Accuvant in Elkridge and hoping that Friday's employment figures would show Maryland had regained all the jobs it lost since 2008.
Seven miles away at Paul's Restaurant in Arbutus, Comptroller Peter Franchot was addressing representatives of not-so-hot legacy businesses and talking about "a sluggish economy" with "very poor wage growth" that led to Tuesday's write-down of state revenue estimates for next year.
September 10th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick
The agency that collects most Maryland taxes had lax controls over granting tax credits and refund checks, and in one case issued a $101,000 refund that wasn’t due, state auditors found. The comptroller’s Revenue Administration Division also had computer programming errors and did not adequately protect sensitive taxpayer information, according to an audit report