Corporate tax cut, tax hike get mixed reviews in Senate committee

How much corporations pay in Maryland taxes and how they are computed were up for debate at Annapolis hearings last week. Sen. Andrew Serafini wants to cut the corporate tax rate as recommended by the legislature’s Augustine commission four years ago. Sen. Ron Young wants more out-of-state corporations paying under combined reporting — a move opposed by the same commission.

Robots and their teen builders seek tax break

Robots and their teenage builders seeking a tax break livened up a hearing before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday. Heather Lin, 15, and her brother, Samuel Lin, 13, of Potomac, are already veterans in the world of robotics. They brought several trophies and medals from local, state and international competitions to prove it.

School standardized tests to get shorter next year

Here’s some good news for Maryland’s public school students – the state Department of Education plans to cut the time they spend taking standardized tests. The new Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) is being developed to replace the PARCC exams that have been used for the past four years to measure progress in areas such as language arts, math, science and social studies.

Lobbyists vent frustrations about Assembly website

The Maryland General Assembly tech folks thought they had spiffed up the hearing schedule on the legislative website for this session, but instead they got  an earful of grievances and questions from lobbyists at a training session Monday. Recent changes to the site were aimed at making the hearing schedule simpler and more user friendly, the Information Systems folks said. But lobbyists who spoke out at the meeting complained the new format makes it harder for them to do their jobs. They liked the previous bland text-driven listing, and its weekly updates.  

Shady deals at MTA, persisting problems with social services, issues with developmental disabilities, UMES, auditors find

In four reports released in the past week, state auditors found: potential shady contract deals at the Maryland Transit Administration that they referred for prosecution, persisting problems at local social services agencies, failure to follow state procurement regulations and check residency requirements at a state university, and problems in verifying that Marylanders with developmental disabilities are getting the help they need.

Chesapeake debris cleanup presses on, months after storms

A small crew from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is making the Bay safe for boating after a summer of epic rains flushed untold amounts of debris into its waters. As of Sept. 27, DNR crews had removed 140,680 pounds of storm-related debris from navigable waters in the Bay. But the work was far from done.

Commentary: Opioid epidemic started with the Civil War

Most of us don’t realize the first American opioid epidemic started in the Civil-war era with the invention of the hypodermic needle to administer morphine to injured soldiers. By the end of the conflict, the term “soldier’s disease” came into existence to describe post-war addicts.