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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your Daily Download of the State's Top Political News and Analysis

Friday, Sept. 18, 2009:


Multibillion-Dollar Budget Gaps Seen Through 2014
Shrinking paychecks for some of Maryland's wealthiest residents, along with new data showing wages falling across the state, will mean a budget problem twice the size of what officials predicted just months ago.
Maryland faces a budget hole of almost $2 billion in the fiscal year beginning next summer.
The gap, which amounts to 14 percent of this year's budget, sets up an election-year budget battle sure to increase pressure on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to address unpopular budget solutions his administration has so far avoided, such as shifting costs of teacher pensions to local governments.
Lawmakers may also view that battle as more urgent with new figures from Warren Deschenaux, the legislature's chief fiscal analyst, forecasting that ongoing state spending will outpace revenue by at least $2 billion each year through 2014.
Republicans have begun weighing in and calling for action.

Roundup on Obama's Visit:
President Barack Obama turned to a young, liberal audience at the University of Maryland on Thursday to rally support for his health-care overall.
The Post's Anne E. Kornblut and Megan Greenwell write that "Obama tailored his remarks to the student crowd, hoping to arm young people -- who are among the least likely to purchase health insurance but could form an important core of a new health-care system -- with new facts and enthusiasm in the debate. Obama declared that young people would be able to stay on their parents' insurance longer -- until age 26."
Photos here. Predictable support from Maryland Dems here. And swipes at Obama's plan by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) here.

Seeds of the ACORN Scandal
The Post's Darryl Fears and Carol D. Leonnig tell the backstory of the ACORN Scandal in Baltimore and the District that led to an overwhelming vote by the House on Thursday to defund the organization, as other probes continue.
"The proposition was outrageous, outlandish, and right up James E. O'Keefe III's alley. Hannah Giles was on the phone from the District, and she was asking him to dress like her pimp, walk into the offices of the ACORN community activist group, openly admit to wanting to buy a house to run as a brothel, and see what happened...."

Red Maryland blasts O'Malley for his week of silence on the scandal, and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy for "incredulously looking into the possibility of charging O'Keefe and Giles for violating state law in obtaining the video."

Council, Leggett Spar Over MoCo Science Complex
In Montgomery, the dance between the council and county exec Ike Leggett continues over an effort to build a science city (or is it "science village"? Depends on who's talking...) near Johns Hopkins' county campus between Rockville and Gaithersburg. A pair of council committees Thursday balked at recommending a land purchase that's key to the plan.
Instead, five council members recommended buying just some of the land needed for the convoluted and far-reaching effort, which includes relocating a series of government offices to make way for additional development. Leggett's eager to build momentum by nabbing all the needed land now. But some council members want to wait before buying a key slice of the property until they decide what the science community should actually look like.
Check back here next Tuesday for results of a vote by the full council.

PG Layoff Announcement By Monday
County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) says an announcement will be coming as early as today and definitely by Monday as the county grapples with a $22.7 million cut in state funding.

Also, The Post's Jonathan Mummolo and Ovetta Wiggins look at an island of residential development beginning at National Harbor.
"Prince George's County officials approved the addition of 2,500 condos and townhouses to the plan as a concession to angry neighbors who feared a sort of Atlantic City on the Potomac was rolling into Oxon Hill. Adding housing, they argued, would make it a little more Mayberry and a little less Disney.
Even with the first condos, the vibe is still much closer to the latter. With a neighborhood that is part shopping mall-part upscale highway rest stop-part resort, residents walk out their lobby doors onto theme park-like streets, which won't show up on some GPS devices. They teem with convention guests, shoppers, tourists and couples arriving by water taxi to dine out. There is no grocery store, no gas station, no Metro stop."

Briefly:

  • A Maryland correctional officer has testified he saw a co-worker kick a handcuffed inmate in the midsection after learning that the prisoner had scuffled with another prison guard. The officer is one of eight charged with beating the prisoner at the Roxbury Correctional Institution last year. The inmate was hospitalized with a broken nose.

  • State officials say they have ordered a group of unlicensed San Diego companies to stop trying to collect on "junk debt" bought from credit card companies and other lenders. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas E. Perez says a cease and desist order has been issued against Midland Funding LLC, Midland Credit Management, Inc., Midland Portfolio Services LLC, and their parent company, Encore Capital Group, Inc.
  • O'Malley Trivia
    And a light note to end the week: The Web site Irish Central looks at the history of the O'Malley name in politics. "The ancient O'Maille or O'Malley name is said to be derived from the Gaelic words "maille" meaning gentle or smooth ... Martin wasn't the first O'Malley in politics. U.S. Representative Thomas O'Malley represented Wisconsin in the early 1930s, and prior to that, Edwin Joseph O'Malley (1881-1953), born in the Bronx, was a ward boss for Tammany Hall ..."

    By Aaron C. Davis  |  September 18, 2009; 7:58 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pelura Says Groundwork Laid for Md. GOP
    Next: A Chat With Rep. Donna Edwards

    Comments

    So who wants to be governor of this almost broke state? I'am a Dem and I think OMalley has screwed up badly, however, what are the alternatives? The Md GOP is like the Three Stooges and the Keystone Kops. They also have no new, creative ideas on how this chronic budget mess can be solved. There is no Democracy if the voters have no serious choices.

    Posted by: VikingRider | September 18, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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