State Roundup, March 16, 2012

SENATE PASSES BUDGET: The $35 billion budget and tweaks to the maintenance of effort law passed the full Senate on Thursday, reports Justin Snow from

Duane Keenan has two podcasts of the floor debate for

The budget passed by the Senate on Thursday has the state’s first tax increase since 2007 – before the recession started, writes the Post’s Aaron Davis.

Democrats supporting the issue said that the tax increase was a fair and progressive way to support strong education funding, according to an Associated Press story in The Daily Record.

However, the Daily Record’s Alexander Pyles points out in a blog post, eight Democrats voted against the measure.

David Hill of the Washington Times spells out exactly how the tax increases would work .

While Senate Republicans failed to prevent spending and tax increases, they did achieve one goal: Getting Democrats to cast votes for spending measures, reports Earl Kelly of The Capital.

Some of the debate rhetoric, including Sen. David Brinkley alluding that some of what Sen. Paul Pinsky said would have made Karl Marx proud, ruffled feathers, reports the Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers.

Ron Wineholt of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce blogs about the $50 million raid on IWIF funds the budget bills can make.

O’MALLEY’S BOX SEATS: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s guests in his Ravens skybox during the last season include politicians, campaign donors and family and friends of public officials, while nearly 40% of his Orioles skybox tickets were given to charities last season, reports The Sun’s Luke Broadwater. Here’s a photo gallery of some of O’Malley’s guests.

MTA FARE INCREASE: The budget as passed on Thursday would also require the Maryland Transit Administration to raise fares annually to keep up with inflation, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser. This could amount to about 10 cents annually.

SLOTS COSTS: Because the state of Maryland, and not casino operators, own all slot machines, a Washington Post analysis shows that the state may be losing tens of millions of dollars, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

CREDIT FOR INMATES: The House of Delegates passed a bill that allows inmates convicted of crimes other than murder to earn credits to reduce their sentences for completing degrees and educational certificates, according to an AP story in The Daily Record.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Parents were pushing legislation by Del. Jolene Ivey that would expand the number of charter schools in Maryland, Abby Brownback reports in the Gazette.

JUSTICE’S LAW: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee approved a bill that would increase the maximum penalty for child abuse resulting in death to 40 years in prison, reports the Hagerstown Herald-Mail’s Andrew Schotz.

AUDIT PROBLEMS: Sen. James Rosapepe, Senate chair of the Joint Audit Committee, is pushing back against bills to punish agencies for repeat audit findings, Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette.

GAS TAX: Rising gas prices make it difficult to pass an increase in the gasoline tax, lawmakers say, according to this story by Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette.

Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar talks about the consequences of delaying increases in transportation funding yet again.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to impose the 6% sales tax on gas is a scheme to reward his environmental and union supporters, a staff editorial in the Washington Examiner charges.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: While opponents of gay marriage gather signatures to put the measure on the November ballot, supporters say it’s important for gay couples to tell their personal stories in order to sway voters, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

NO LEAD PAINT SOLUTION: Baltimore legislators said they held off on legislation that would help the Housing Authority of Baltimore resolve millions of dollars in judgments from former public housing residents who were poisoned by the lead paint there as children. With no resolution in sight and the end of the session drawing near, they tell The Sun’s Scott Calvert they’ve been let down.

TOBACCO TAX: The Diamondback’s Jim Bach explores whether the proposed tobacco taxes are to promote health or just new cash grabs from the state.

LAB SAFETY: Sen. Ron Young sponsored a bill to create an oversight division to make and enforce standards for containment labs, but said he would also support a commission to study whether such a division is necessary, reports the Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers.

REFERENDUMS: Gazette columnist Blair Lee criticizes legislative attempts to make it more difficult to petition legislation to referendum.

INVESTMARYLAND DOLLARS: A tax credit auction to raise funds to put into young businesses through the InvestMaryland program raised $84 million, exceeding expectations of raising closer to $70 million, reports the Post’s Steven Overly.

MOCO ON PENSION SHIFT: Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner and County Executive Isiah Leggett have offered a compromise on the state’s plan to shift some teacher pension costs to the county level, reports Crista Puccio of The Sentinel.

MIKULSKI TO BREAK RECORD: On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski will become the longest serving woman in congressional history, reports Ben Pershing of the Washington Post.

ALSTON’S SUSPENDED LICENSE: Del. Tiffany Alston was seen driving herself to work, though her license has been suspended since last year because she failed to appear at a hearing for driving on a suspended registration, according to a report by WBAL AM’s Steve Fermier and WBAL TV’s Jayne Miller.

6TH DISTRICT RACE: Democratic businessman John Delaney is reporting raising at least $739,000 in the last two weeks, reports John Fritze of The Baltimore Sun.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett tells Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that as he seeks an 11th term in Congress, his focus is on creating jobs.

8TH DISTRICT REPUBLICANS: Republicans vying to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen held a forum in Winfield, reports Brian Oland of the Carroll County Times.

DOUGLAS RADIO AD: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Douglas has started airing a statewide radio ad, saying it’s “time to wake Congress up,” reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

YOUNG FOR GOVERNOR? Blaine Young, president of the Frederick County Commissioners, announced Thursday that he will explore running for governor in 2014, reports Pete McCarthy of the Frederick News-Post.

FLU DEATHS: State and Calvert County health officials scrambled to unravel the medical mystery behind three deaths stemming from the flu, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette Reporters Notebook has items on Kittleman’s exercise; a new ice cream flavor; a love tax; cheeseburger police; and the anti-abortion rally.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

1 Comment

  1. PhilTheBiker

    I think toilet paper is better than the tax increases the Democrats seek.  With toilet paper, it is rare that my poo gets everywhere, and the more I wipe the less poo there is.  The more the Democratic party wipes with the idea of Tax Increases being good, the more the poo gets everywhere and on everybody.  Don’t be a poo poo head, stop voting for tax/fee increases!

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