State Roundup, October 26, 2011

MORE TAXES RECOMMENDED: Two groups charged with figuring out how the state can pay for new roads, a cleaner Chesapeake Bay and other key functions of government suggested the same basic answer, report Tim Wheeler and Michael Dresser for the Sun: Marylanders should be asked to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding is recommending that the General Assembly increase wholesale gas taxes by 15 cents, prevent money from the transportation trust fund from being siphoned off to other projects and do a feasibility study on establishing a regional transit authority, Megan Poinski of reports.

Also, a governor’s task force on sustainable growth heard a proposal to double and eventually triple Marylanders’ annual water and sewer fee of $30 for Chesapeake Bay restoration, CNS’s Greg Masters reports in

The Post’s Aaron Davis writes that the taxes and fees would have Maryland households paying hundreds of dollars more a year to prop up a transportation trust fund that is failing to keep pace with billions in unfunded projects.

The Blue Ribbon Commission is attempting to find $870 million annually to pay for transit initiatives and local road repairs, Sarah Breitenbach of the Gazette reports.

Jeff Abel of WBFF-TV interviews drivers and reports on the gas tax hike proposal.

HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS: The editorial board of the Sun says no one should be surprised when alcohol tax revenue allocated for school construction favors districts where lawmakers voted for the tax — that’s how democracy works.

DNC CHAIR CAMPAIGNS IN MD: Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will headline a rally in Silver Spring today to campaign for some of the state’s Democratic officials who are up for election in 2012, blogs John Fritze for the Sun.

4th DISTRICT RACE: In a move that could open another front in Maryland’s increasingly contentious 2012 election cycle, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey said through a spokesman that he may run for the U.S. House from Maryland’s newly redrawn 4th Congressional District, held by U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, blogs John Fritze for the Sun.

And Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit said yesterday he has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run for Congress in Maryland’s fourth congressional district, Nicole Fuller writes for the Sun.

Benoit said that Maryland’s newly redrawn 4th Congressional District offers the best opportunity to send an Anne Arundel County resident to Capitol Hill for the first time in nearly two decades, Erin Cox of the Annapolis Capital reports.

MONTGOMERY DISTRICTS: A Montgomery County delegate who initially opposed Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to redraw the state’s Congressional districts changed her mind after O’Malley made several changes to the map, Erin Cunningham reports for the Gazette.

CUMMINGS TAKES STAND: U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings was the latest in a string of high-profile Maryland politicians to testify in defense of state Sen. Ulysses Currie in his federal bribery trial, the Sun’s Annie Linskey blogs. He told jurors the senator is a “straight shooter” and “an honest guy.”

CURRIE WILL NOT: Attorneys for Currie had held out the possibility that he might testify, but it is rare for defendants in criminal cases to take the stand, and Currie and his defense team indicated that he will not, writes John Wagner for the Post.

In writing for the Frederick News Post, columnist Marta Mossburg says that Currie’s chosen defense tarnishes not only the very essence of his being, but every member of the General Assembly by affiliation.

DEFENSE CUTS MEAN JOBS: A report released yesterday says Maryland is at risk of losing more than 36,000 jobs if federal defense cuts deepen, writes Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal.

OCCUPY CAMPING ILLEGAL: City officials declared yesterday that overnight camping is illegal at the downtown plaza where protesters with the Occupy Baltimore movement have been staying in tents for three weeks, reports the Sun’s Luke Broadwater. Click on the video to view interviews with two protesters.

A spokesman said the group is weighing its options with the American Civil Liberties Union and had called for a mass meeting last night at the campsite, Mark Reutter and Fern Shen report for the Baltimore Brew.

Linda So of WMAR-TV made an early morning trek to the Occupy campsite and interviews one protester about the meeting last night.

SCHAEFER SCHAEFER CASE DISMISSED: An Orphans’ Court judge dismissed a case brought by Mike Schaefer, in which he sought $28,000 from the estate of the late William Donald Schaefer, saying the two had a friendship, but not an agreement that entitled Mike Schaefer to compensation for meals and driving, Arthur Hirsch writes for the Sun.

OUTSOURCING IN FREDERICK: A panel of Frederick County citizens and county employees has landed on its first recommendation to explore outsourcing, advising commissioners to look at privatizing aspects of the county’s internal audit division. The Frederick County Commissioners will now consider allowing private companies to bid on the service, Bethany Rodgers reports for the Frederick News Post.

CARROLL REDISTRICTING: As the Carroll County Redistricting Committee tries to figure out the best way to draw up the county’s five commissioner districts, it will consider two maps that mirror those developed by the 2005 redistricting committee, Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times reports.

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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