State Roundup, December 8, 2011

CORPORATE INCOME TAXES: Len Lazarick of reports that at least 68 profitable corporations paid no state income taxes anywhere in the country in one of the last three years, according to a new study. Among those that do significant business in Maryland are Comcast, Wells Fargo, Verizon and Pepco Holdings, the utility company that paid no state taxes in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

BWI UPGRADE: The Maryland Board of Public Works approved an “aggressive” $100 million renovation of BWI Marshall Airport that will streamline security check-ins, eliminate a major passenger bottleneck and give its No. 1 carrier room to grow, Candus Thomson reports for the Sun.

CAMDEN YARDS: The BPW also approved $1.8 million to turn Oriole Park at Camden Yards into a year-round, “park-like destination,” complete with new new concessions and attractions in centerfield, writes Jack Lambert for the Baltimore Business Journal.

PAYMENTS TO THE DEAD: Steve Kelly of the Gazette writes that the state health department paid $426,403 to 10 dead people and potentially made $2.5 million in Medicaid payments to more than 300 other deceased people, according to legislative audit released yesterday.

The state could save millions of dollars by comparing the list of people receiving Medicaid with the Social Security Administration’s Master Death File, writes Megan Poinski for

Auditors couldn’t say how many payments were fraudulent or even illegitimate — some medical bills could have been sent after a patient’s death, Meredith Cohn reports for the Sun.

FAKE POT: The state health department is asking for public comments on the use of synthetic marijuana-like substances that may cause severe reactions in some people and are regulated at the federal level and in at least 40 states, Steve Kilar writes for the Sun.

EX-EHRLICH AIDES SPEAK: Former Bob Ehrlich speechwriter Richard Cross blogs about the conviction of his former colleague Paul Schurick on voter suppression charges, saying that Schurick should apologize. Scroll down to read the comments.

And Joe Steffen, a self-described one-time political attack dog, has even less sympathy for both Schurick and Ehrlich.

GAY MARRIAGE CAMPAIGN: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has joined the growing number of people to promote same-sex marriage legislation in a Web video series that is pushing for passage of the bill legislation next year in Maryland, John Wagner blogs for the Post.

TAKING ON HARRIS: Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times profiles two Democrats who have signed up to first take on each other before the winner can take on incumbent Andy Harris over his U.S. congressional seat.

RUN AGAINST DUTCH: While state Sen. Nancy Jacobs has formed an exploratory committee as she considers running against U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Nancy Schwerzler of the Cecil Times writes that national political dynamics suggest that it would be a very tough uphill fight, but it would not be an impossible task.

RACE AGAINST BARTLETT: Milad Pooran, a 34-year-old doctor and Air National Guard reservist, yesterday became the latest candidate to enter the burgeoning race for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, held by Roscoe Bartlett, John Fritze blogs for the Sun.

ELK REINTRODUCTION: A potential reintroduction of Rocky Mountain elk will be focused on Allegany County now that Garrett County’s Board of Commissioners has strongly opposed the idea, Michael Sawyers reports for the Cumberland Times-News.

WIND CONTROLS: A Garrett County commissioner is considering establishing zoning laws to regulate wind turbines, Elaine Blaisdell of the Cumberland Times-News writes.

BAY CLEANUP: Talbot County Councilman Dirck Bartlett wants to ensure that when it comes to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, local farmers do their part under the county’s eye, Daniel Divilio writes for the Easton Star Democrat.

MO CO FURLOUGH: Victor Zapana of the Post writes that a five-day furlough for the Montgomery County Planning Department at the end of the month is a part of a cost-saving strategy for the department’s fiscal 2012 operating budget.

IT’S A SNAP: Frederick County seems to be doing a good job of managing its piece of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, opines the editorial board for the Frederick News-Post. Apparently that’s no SNAP, as the program is often cited as a target of fraud and abuse.

WASTE TO ENERGY HEARING: A majority of the nearly 20 people who spoke during the one-hour hearing on the proposed waste-to-energy plant for Frederick County expressed continued concerns about the cost of the project and potential environmental risks, Pete McCarthy writes for the Frederick News-Post.

BAG FEE IN PG: Through the efforts of state Del. Barbara Frush and state Sen. Paul Pinsky, expect a bill in the next legislative session to allow the Prince George’s County Council to impose mandatory fees on customers when using disposable bags at retail stores, Jim Bach writes for the Diamondback.

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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