State Roundup, October 6, 2011

ANOTHER CIG TAX HIKE? The same people who pushed the “dime-a-drink” hike to the alcohol tax and the “dollar-a-pack” increase to the state tobacco tax are launching a new campaign: Another $1 increase to the cost of a pack of cigarettes, blogs Annie Linskey for the Sun.

The tax hike would put Maryland’s cigarette tax at twice the national average, writes Len Lazarick for

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved school construction projects in Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties funded by the new 50% hike to the sales tax on alcohol, blogs the Sun’s Annie Linskey.

Most of the revenues from the tax are earmarked for educational projects, writes Megan Poinski for

AGENCY MOVES: John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that state Comptroller Peter Franchot is expressing concern about the cost of the planned move of two state agencies currently in Anne Arundel County.

But, under protests from Comptroller Franchot, the Board of Public Works approved an emergency contract to move the Annapolis-based Maryland Higher Education Commission to the same Baltimore building as the state Department of Education, writes Megan Poinski for

WHO WANTS SLOTS? Hanah Cho of the Sun reports that renewed jostling to expand gambling in the state began yesterday as a national casino operator painted its proposal to build a casino in Prince George’s County as good for taxpayers, while Frederick County lawmakers asked constituents if they want slots there.

SLOTS SIGN IN PERRYVILLE: After nearly a year of debate and discussion Perryville officials gave Penn National Gaming permission last night to erect a 175-foot sign at Hollywood Casino, Jane Bellmyer reports for the Cecil Whig.

BARTLETT IMPERILED: The Cook Political Report now predicts the proposed new Maryland map would make it “very difficult” for U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett to hold on to his 6th District seat, making it among 11 Republican-held toss-up seats across the country, John Fritze blogs for the Sun.

RELIEF FUNDS: Federal disaster relief funds were allocated yesterday to Maryland by President Obama, Steve Kilar of the Sun writes.

OCCUPY BALTIMORE: Peter Hermann of the Sun reports that the Baltimore contingent of Occupy Wall Street has grown to 125 peaceful but frustrated protestors at the Inner Harbor site.

Linda So of WMAR-TV interviews some of the protestors.

NO TO SLOTS IN PG: Ministers, community activists and the head of the NAACP in Prince George’s delivered a clear message to the County Council: Slot machines at Rosecroft Raceway would be a scourge on the community, writes Miranda Spivack for the Post.

FIRE ASSOCIATION FUNDING: Arnold Platou of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail follows up his investigative series on gaming funds and the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and asks: How did the system to fund the organization begin?

CAUTION ON PLANMARYLAND: The Cumberland Times News is reporting that the Garrett County commissioners are asking Gov. Martin O’Malley to take a cautious approach in implementing PlanMaryland in those counties with less than 1% population growth in the last decade, which would include Garrett and Allegany counties.

REDRAW DISTRICTS: A coalition of more than a dozen community groups along the Liberty Road corridor and the NAACP are rallying to force a recently passed plan to redraw Baltimore County Council’s seven districts, writes Bryan Sears of

Alison Knezevich of the Sun reports that the president of the Liberty Road group said, “We’re upset with the redistricting plan because it splits communities. It reduces our voting power.”

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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