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Winners and Losers

A few winners and losers in Maryland politics in recent days:

WINNERS

Prince George's public hospital system: Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson (D) have announced yet another plan to save the financially troubled health care system that includes Prince George's Hospital. This one calls for the state and county to each pay $12 million annually for the next two years to keep it open while searching for a new owner. Under the plan, which requires legislative approval, a seven-member hospital authority would be created to conduct an open and transparent bidding process for possible new companies to take over. Here is the story by Rosalind S. Helderman.

State Banking Industry: Advantage to the bankers this week in the lobbying fight over a bill that would save state-chartered banks from paying hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds and damages to homeowners. It was a battle royal between the bankers and the law firm of Baltimore Orioles Peter owner G. Angelos. The House passed the bill last week, and the Senate approved it this week. Here is a story by Lisa Rein outlining the issue.

LOSER

Chesapeake Bay Fund: The jury is still out, but it seems likely that the new fund to clean up the Chesapeake Bay will get less money than planned. As lawmakers struggle to respond to lower revenue projections and a faltering economy, a key Senate committee agreed this week to cut in half the first $50 million-a-year allocation to the bay fund. John Wagner reported on the issue.

By Anne Bartlett  |  March 14, 2008; 6:45 AM ET
 
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Comments

WINNER: Mark Fennel: for having the courage and insight to be the only candidate for County Council in the April 15 and May 13 special elections to commit to sticking to, not exceeding the Charter property tax limit. Mark knows that after increases in the computer, sales, income, car and corporate taxes we cannot afford, in a recession, to have our Pelosi rebate checks seized and our property taxes raised above the charter limit! SAVE OUR HOMES!

LOSERS: County Executive Leggett and Concil President Knapp. Leggett will introduce his property tax increasing budget on Monday and Mike Knapp will vote later for the fourth time to override the charter property tax limit. They will try and cause hundreds more foreclosures for people living on the edge and price thousands out of the county housing market, many of whom will simply vote with their feet and leave.

LOSER: State Senator Rob Garagiola who pushed through, without public hearings the computer tax in return for campaign contributions generated by his clone Mike Miller. Garagiola was the decidng vote n a 24-23 vote n favor of the computer tax and income tax increases. Garagiola then tried to replace the computer tax with a Washington Post-Ike Leggett inspired gasoline tax increase, hardly a good idea with gas headed to $4 a gallon. Then Garagiola tried to replace the computer tax with an even higher income tax. Then he voted against replacing the computer tax with unallocated funds and budget cuts.

WINNER: Our November ballot question which raises the number of council votes from 7 to 9 to exceed the charter limit on property tax revenues. Leggett's proposed and Knapp's approval of a property tax increase this year will push the ballot question to passage.

WINNERS; Special election voters who will have a chance on April 15 and May 13 to propect their pocketbooks by voting for Mark Fennel for County Councl. But for the special election, the voters would not have had this chance till November, 2010.

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | March 14, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

On December 12, 2007 my commentary, "A Voice in the Wind," was published in The Gazette.

Here's a direct quote.

"did I tell you that on Oct. 5, 2006, during the Grass Roots Organization for the Well-Being of Seniors candidate forum, I publicly made an explicit prediction that this council would override Montgomery County's charter amendment that limits property tax collection, and blame it on an obvious and impending burst of the housing bubble."

VOTE FENNEL FOR PROPERTY TAX RELIEF -- APRIL 15 AND MAY 13

Mark D. Fennel

Posted by: VOTEFENNEL4COUNTYCOUNCIL | March 14, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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