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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis

Friday, October 2, 2009:

Looming Election Year Renews Voting Issues
   As Maryland heads into an election season, a number of voting-related issues are certain to spark new drama, including the selection of early voting sites.
   Alan Brody of The Gazette reports on the contentiousness in Montgomery County and elsewhere, as officials move to comply with the state's new law, which Republicans vigorously resisted.
   In Montgomery, the County Board of Elections selected five polling places Tuesday, which now must receive approval from the state elections board -- but the decision wasn't unanimous, Brody reports.
   The appointed county board's two Republican members voted against the plan, contending that it lacks any rural sites and was formulated behind closed doors by the board's three Democratic members.

Taxing Issues Ahead for Lawmakers, O'Malley
   The Baltimore Sun reports that state fiscal analysts revealed Thursday that a corporate income tax change sought by an influential labor union as an alternative to budget cuts could have raised as much as $170 million if it had been in effect several years ago.
   The report from the comptroller's office could bolster support in the General Assembly for so-called combined reporting, which proponents say would prevent corporations from dodging taxes by hiding profits in other, lower-tax states, reports The Sun's Laura Smitherman.
   But the analysts cautioned against assuming the change could be as lucrative for the state in the future. Their study is based on tax data from 2006 -- the tail end of one of the largest and longest booms in corporate profits in the post-war period. Since then, the nation has sunk into the worst recession since the Great Depression, Smitherman notes.
   Our take: Combined reporting will remain a tough sell in an election-year legislative session in which leading lawmakers are loathe to do anything that looks like a tax increase.
   The Gazette, meanwhile, offers its take on a looming tax increase for businesses to replenish the state's unemployment trust fund, a "tax shock" that The Sun reported on earlier in the week.
   Seeking to limit political fallout from a situation hardly unique to Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is considering using federal stimulus money to mitigate the impact on small businesses, the Gazette says.

O'Malley Pitches Health Care; GOP Hits Back
   Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) sought to do his part Thursday morning in helping Democrats push health-care reform through Congress.
   In a conference call with reporters orchestrated by the Democratic National Committee, O'Malley argued that the cost of the current system is unsustainable for state Medicaid programs and employee benefits.
   The Maryland Senate Republican Caucus has stepped up its critiques of the governor on a new blog, and Thursday's conference call provided the latest fodder.


  • The Baltimore Sun's Paul West examines the relationship between earmarks sought by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) in a defense spending bill and campaign contributions.

  • The Gazette looks at how the state's new restrictive death penalty law could affect capital punishment in Maryland.

  • Prince George's County was given a AAA bond rating by a major Wall Street ratings firm for the second year in a row.

  • Stanley Plumly is named the state's new poet laureate by O'Malley, The Sun reports.

  • O'Malley is getting an award from Governing magazine, the Associated Press reports.

    Have a good weekend. We'll see you back in this space Monday.

  • By John Wagner  |  October 2, 2009; 6:53 AM ET
    Categories:  First Click , John Wagner  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pr. George's Remains AAA-Okay
    Next: O'Malley: Next Year's Opponent 'Beyond My Control'

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