BPW OKS BUDGET CUTS: Maryland state agencies will take a 2% across-the-board budget cut, and higher education will absorb an added $18 million cut as part of plan to fill a $410 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, according to a plan approved by the Board of Public Works on Wednesday. The story is reported by the AP in the Post.
- The reductions are part of an effort by outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to shrink a looming shortfall before he is succeeded by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) on Jan. 21. They were made during O’Malley’s final appearance as governor at the monthly Board of Public Works meeting, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.
- The vote came as O’Malley presided over his final meeting of the powerful panel. He noted that it was the ninth time he had come to the board to make midyear cuts to keep the state budget in balance after revenues fell short of early projections. Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that among the approved moves are: $206 million in budget reductions including $113 million that is part of a 2% across-the-board cut to all state agencies including higher education; $108 million in fund balance transfers; and $53 million in contingent reductions that will require legislative action during the 2015 General Assembly session.
O’MALLEY’S LEGACY: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s last meeting as chairman of the Board of Public Works was nothing short of a love fest, writes the editorial board of the Sun. He was showered with love from Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who praised him as “the right man at the right time.” Comptroller Peter Franchot gave him some love in the form of a piece of art featuring Frederick Douglass and a call for a standing ovation “because he deserves it.” But the most love came from O’Malley himself, who offered a lengthy defense of his record as the state’s fiscal steward, much maligned these last few months by the man who will soon replace him, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan.
- Twice a month for eight years, Gov. Martin O’Malley has presided over the Board of Public Works, a unique institution in American state government. Wednesday was O’Malley’s last session as governor, and at Comptroller Peter Franchot’s suggestion, the audience gave O’Malley a standing ovation. MarylandReporter.com has photos of the pre-meeting and the public session.
MD SCHOOLS SLIP TO 3RD: For the umpteenth time in his two terms as governor, on Wednesday Martin O’Malley again touted that Maryland’s public schools had been No. 1 in America for five years running from Education Week magazine, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. But Maryland’s schools slipped a notch in the Education Week report card released Thursday, tripping to third place behind Massachusetts and New Jersey.
HOGAN’S PURPLE LINE: “He has enormous power to kill it,” Donald Norris, director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County School of Public Policy, said of Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s authority over the Purple Line. Louis Peck of Bethesda Magazine writes that Hogan appears to have three options: allow construction of the Purple Line; delay its construction; or kill it. If he opts for either of the latter, proponents of the Purple Line would have very limited recourse.
STEP UP FOR HOGAN: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich believes the business community will have to play a big role for Larry Hogan to have success as governor, reports Rick Seltzer for the Baltimore Business Journal. “The business community needs to step up,” said Ehrlich, who was the last Republican before Hogan to win a gubernatorial election in heavily Democratic Maryland. “They have their guy who understands markets.”
WAITING FOR HOGAN: Laslo Boyd of Center Maryland reports that, unlike Godot, we can be quite certain that Gov. Hogan will arrive in Annapolis on Jan. 21. Beyond that, however, we really know little more about him than we do about the title character in Samuel Beckett’s famous play. Hogan ran a masterful campaign in that he told us almost nothing about what he intended to do. That approach worked for many voters who were content to know that Hogan was neither Anthony Brown nor Martin O’Malley. Generalizations during the campaign about improving the business climate and rolling back tax increases were devoid of any details.
MARYLANDER OF THE YEAR: WYPR’s senior news analyst Fraser Smith talks to The Daily Record’s Bryan Sears about Gov.-elect Larry Hogan and how strong the Republican Party is in Maryland and who might be considered Marylander of the Year.
HOGAN & RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov.-elect Larry Hogan are bound to bicker, opines the editorial board for the Sun. But they also may have more in common — and more to gain from one another — than they might like to admit.
DYNAMIC SCORING: U.S.Rep. John Delaney, of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, writes in an op-ed in the Post that: “My Republican colleagues have adopted a new rule for how legislation will be analyzed during the 114th Congress … The new rule will require budget forecasters to use “dynamic scoring” to evaluate the real-world impact of certain bills.” He urges his colleagues to keep dynamic scoring honest. “If done correctly, dynamic scoring will provide a more complete picture of Congress’s actions. This is exactly the type of modeling the private sector uses, and advances in data collection and analysis create an opportunity for it to be employed accurately,” he writes.
HARRIS BLASTS BOEHNER: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, angry over a newspaper quote in which an aide to the House Republican leadership described House conservatives as “fringe guys,” laid into newly re-elected Speaker John Boehner during a caucus meeting on Wednesday, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the private meeting, John Fritze reports in the Sun.
DRIVING AND VOTING: Hyattsville has become the second municipality in the country to lower the voting age for city elections to 16, nearly two years after its progressive neighbors in Takoma Park took similar steps, Arelis Hernández reports for the Post.
KIRBY DELAUTER APOLOGIZES: Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County councilman, issued an apology Wednesday after he gained national attention for threatening to sue The Frederick News-Post for publishing his name without permission. Paige Jones reports the story for the Frederick News Post.
- Delauter said that because he is an elected official, the paper had the right to use his name “in any article related to the running of the county — that comes with the job,” reports Bill Turque in the Post. Terry Headlee, the newspaper’s managing editor, said he was not concerned by what appeared to be wiggle room in Delauter’s statement. The News-Post, Headlee said, would continue to cover the council member as it saw fit.
- After national outlets picked up the story and #kirbydelauter trended on Twitter, Delauter walked back his words in a statement, chalking them up to frustration at being “misrepresented or misinterpreted,” Colin Campbell writes in the Sun.
CARSON BOOK PASSAGES ‘APPEAR LIFTED:’ John Fritze of the Sun is reporting that potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is under fire for passages included in a 2012 book that appear to be lifted from an anti-socialism website and other sources. A report by the news site BuzzFeed found sections of the book, “America the Beautiful,” were reproduced from a website called Socialismsucks.net that has since been taken offline. Other passages mirrored those written by several conservative historians.