Policy think tank celebrates 15 years, honors Hogan

The Maryland Public Policy Institute, the free-market think tank, celebrated its 15th anniversary Thursday night, announcing two new initiatives and honoring Gov. Larry Hogan with an award. In a short speech, Hogan gave the institute some credit for his path to the governorship. “For a long time, I’ve been passionately interested in the issues that the Maryland Public Policy Institute has been watching,” said Hogan, who served on the MPPI board. He said that led him to set up the advocacy group Change Maryland, which become the foundation for his campaign.

Critics slam pension fund performance, system slams critics

Persistent critics of the investment performance of Maryland’s $45 billion pension fund for state teachers and employees are again slamming the fund for failing to match the performance of other state pension systems, even though its 14.4% return was nearly twice as high as the fund’s target.

Dollars being stretched

Income inequality grows in the Washington suburbs

While much of the D.C. region has bounced back from the recession, certain segments of the population are benefitting from this recovery more than others, a new report. The report, “Bursting the Bubble” shows that mirroring a national trend, income inequality has been growing over the past few years in the D.C. Metro area, even during the economic recovery.

Think tanks recommend $500 million casino license

Two Maryland think tanks are proposing that the state charge a license fee as high as $500 million for new National Harbor Casino, saying anything less, such as the current $18 million license fee, “would be a giveaway, corporate welfare, or taxpayer rip-off.”

Interactive map helps visualize county-by-county pension payments and liabilities

While most of the focus on pension reform for public employees has been on the state as a whole, counties are also finding themselves with growing unfunded liabilities, according to a new interactive chart launched on Tuesday by the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

The pension map plots out the amount that each county and Baltimore City spent on pensions – both in benefits paid out and in the employer contribution – in the last fiscal year.

Efforts for more open government brings divergent groups together

Legislators and advocates on the right and left are often at odds on policy, but a conference next week will bring divergent groups together on something they can all agree on: the need for greater openness and transparency in government.

The Maryland Public Policy Institute, along with the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, Progressive Maryland, and Community Research, are sponsoring a session Dec. 8 to discuss ways that the government can be more accountable to the people through increased disclosure of information.