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Special Session Round-Up for Friday

Here is a selection of news and links from around the web that supplement The Post's coverage of the Maryland special session as of Friday, Nov. 2.

Frederick County Commissioners President Jan Gardner testified yesterday in favor of the governors' tax hike proposal, saying that O'Malley's plan is "fair" because it doesn't place the further tax burden on low and middle income families reports the Frederick News-Post... Maryland State Sen. E.J. Pipkin writes a letter to Marylanders, published in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel, publicly declaring his opposition for gas tax increases. Pipkin wrote that "it is downright propose gas tax increases based on any inflationary factor"... A $1-per-pack increase in the tobacco tax could lead to the loss of jobs and $379 million in lost sales of tobacco products, reported the Washington Business Journal... For the slots referendum to be placed on the November 2008 ballot 29 Senate democrats and 85 House democrats have to support the referendum, reads an article in the Annapolis Capital. "If the legislators choose to begin pulling out components ... [the plan] could collapse as a house of cards," said Republican Del. Steve Schuh. O'Malley "will either have the greatest political victory of his career or one of his greatest setbacks"... Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley argued Thursday that an increased tobacco tax won't prevent Fredrick County residents from smoking, reports The Frederick News-Post... A Washington Times editorial discusses the question of whether illegal immigrants will benefit from O'Malley's revamped health care program. "Illegal aliens could use O'Malley-Care to obtain health insurance through identity fraud," the paper writes... Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, said the special session will determine how much lawmakers pay attention to gay issues in the general session in January. "It will be incredibly problematic for any substantive issue to get the attention it deserves if this revenue package isn't sorted out," he told the Washington Blade... State Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin said, "The cost of delaying budget solutions would be devastating to Maryland's environment." Eight state parks, including The Pocomoke River Park, will be closed if lawmakers don't find an alternative to make up for the budget shortfall, reports the Maryland Coast Dispatch... Finally, a letter to the editors of the Cumberland Times-News outlines 15 things the governor "plans to do -- behind closed doors."

From The Post, Some Maryland lawmakers wonder if O'Malley's bill goes too far by routing licenses to "preordained locations," writes John Wagner... Lawmakers haven't reached a consensus on O'Malley's plan, according to a story by Philip Rucker and Ovetta Wiggins... Supporters and opponents of slot-machine gambling staged dueling rallies this morning in Annapolis, reports Rucker.

If you've seen something you'd like to add, post a summary and link below.

-- Compiled by Jamisha Purdy

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 2, 2007; 6:16 PM ET
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I heard Jan Gardner testify for MAACO--the county officials. I don't know why the Post has to quote another paper. She testified at the joint hearing of the Senate Budget and Tax and the House Ways and Means Committees on the Governor's largest tax increase in Maryland history proposal. The Post should have been there. The word "sycophant" came to mind when I heard her. She went along with the Governor to get along. But she is not telling the truth when she says this tax increase won't place a burden on low and middle income families. There will be a burden every day on every family member who buys anything because the regressive state sales tax will increase 20%. The sales tax increase is by far the largest revenue generator of the Governors plan--it brings in 5 times as much revenue as the income tax increase!

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | November 2, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is a liar! He said he'd stop the rate hikes, and now they're going to go up again. He said he'd fund Thornton, and he didn't do it this year and he is planning to cut even further. And now, as a resident of Baltimore with the highest property tax in the state, he's going to hoist a 20% sales tax on me, a gas tax increase every year for the rest of my life, sin taxes because God-forbid I want to have a cigarette with my beer, and raise taxes on services--except his buddies the lawyer-special interests. He is no friend of the working family and he has lied and deceived his way into the governor's mansion. I voted for him but I will actively work against him from now on. So many people are talking about how this time, they won't forget his lies even though three years may seem a long time away. Any representative or senator that votes for this regressive tax package will have serious opposition and will be remembered with scorn in the ballot box three years from now. I'm done with O'Malley's lies.

Posted by: Baltimore Voter | November 3, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and don't give me this crap that my property tax will go down. How stupid do you think we are, O'Malley? The $25 dollars that my property tax will go down from the state will do nothing for the extraordinary property tax rate the city charges. Also, that supposed $25 will now be spent paying for the 20% sales tax increase, gas tax increase, and the bloated health care rolls and green funds you want. Fool me once, shame on you. But you won't fool me again!

Posted by: Baltimore Voter | November 3, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley was originally spouting off with the normal rhetoric about this plan serving as a means to get the wealthy to pay their fair share. But according to the Cumberland Times "behind closed doors" link above, number 3 on the list of 15 ideas for bleeding us dry is to raise taxes on anyone making more than $40,000.

Does O'Malley consider a struggling single mom making $40,000 a year "wealthy"? God forbid they have a gambling problem and/or drive a car to boot with the gas tax going up and titling fees increasing.

This is all wrong in so many ways.

Posted by: BG from PG | November 3, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Ding ding ding ding!

There goes BG's stupidity alarm again. And this time, along with it, his "lying through his teeth" alert as well.

BG would have you believe that he's found the smoking gun. A link? To a newspaper? It must be true. Or at least a news story. With sources.

Well, actually, no. The Cumberland Times "link" takes you to a letter to the editor written by "Dr. Eileen Steele." What evidence does she offer for her laundry list of alleged crimes against humanity about to be perpetrated by Martin O'Malley. Precisely nothing, that's what.

Utter stupidity, combined with mendacity. Rollin' right along there, BG.

And kudos to the Post for giving this right-wing nonsense any credibility whatsoever. I look forward to next week's link to my blog post accusing Maryland Republicans, particularly BG and Rufus, of fornicating with goats. What evidence do I have for that? Well, none at all, but that didn't stop Eileen Steele from writing, the Post from linking, or BG from claiming he's found the "evidence."

And as in so many other cases, teh Google is your friend. Eileen Steele was previously a Republican candidate for state delegate in Allegany County.

Might have been worth noting, mmmm, maybe, Jamisha Purdy? Not that BG would care, but the Post supposedly has those pesky "standards" to worry about.

Not a shining moment of honesty, brilliance or journalistic standards all around. Good work, everybody.

Posted by: lefty | November 4, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Lefty, I'm just another one of those idiots that's against O'Malley's plans to raise my income tax, sales tax, gas tax and vehicle titling tax, while he has no significant plans to cut spending. If that makes me "stupid" then I guess I'm guilty as charged.

You, on the other hand, are brilliant for figuring out that the right wing Washington Post and the GOP controlled mainstream media are promoting their conservative agendas in Annapolis. Now that you've uncovered that conspiracy you can move on to bigger and better things like investigating the "inside job" of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Posted by: BG from PG | November 4, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

BG, make your arguments. I don't agree, but that in and of itself doesn't make you stupid. What does is citing to a Republican letter to the editor as "evidence" of O'Malley's intentions. And then proceeding to criticize him for his "intention," when it is nothing more than the fevered imagination of a former unsuccessful candidate for delegate.

Will you agree with me that there is no evidence whatsoever, none, that O'Malley intends to increase the taxes of someone making $40,000 a year? Will you agree with me that in fact the taxes of that someone are slated to go down, not up, under O'Malley's plan? That it is the taxes of the rich that are slated to go up, namely those making more than $150,000 per year ($250,000 if married)?

Those are facts. If you have evidence to the contrary (letters to the editor are not evidence), please let me know, because I'd like to see it.

If you accept my facts, then your earlier post is a complete and total fabrication, and you know it now and you knew it then.

Make your arguments, but don't lie. Everyone's entitled to his or her opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. That goes for you and Dr. Steele, and it goes for me too. If I ever state something as a fact that is demonstrably not true, please tell me. I want to know that too.

Posted by: lefty | November 4, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"If I ever state something as a fact that is demonstrably not true, please tell me."

OK, let's start by quoting me as citing the Cumberland Times link as "evidence" of anything. Why don't you re-read my post?

Secondly, the problem with O'Malley is that he has no credibility and he's proven many times over now that he's willing to say one thing and later do something all together different. Let's say that this plan does involve a tax "cut" for some. If that is true, a modest cut in income tax means what when sales tax is increased at the same time? The gas tax, car titling tax, tax on property management services will all come down on the middle and low income earners. Business and corporate taxes will also trickle down to the consumer. Those are facts too. His tax "cut" shell game is nothing but a damage control measure when this is all said and done.

Frustratingly enough for me, this all means nothing because my feeling is that the fix is already in. There nothing we can do about but live with it at this point. But damned if I'm going to sit here and be quiet about it.

Posted by: BG from PG | November 4, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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