Politics

  • Maryland governor proposes huge tax cuts for retirees so they’ll stop moving to Florida

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants to cut income taxes for retirees by $1 billion over the next five years, a “major step” toward his goal of eventually eliminating all retirement taxes. Under Hogan’s proposal, entitled the “Retirement Tax Reduction Act of 2020,” retirees with less than $50,000 of income will no longer pay state income taxes in Maryland. Retirees who earn less than $100,000 will see reductions of between 50% and 100%. (WTOP) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore mayoral candidates raise $2.3M, signaling expensive and bitter fight ahead for crowded field

    Baltimore mayoral candidates collectively have raised more than $2.3 million heading into the final months of the Democratic primary campaign, signaling an expensive and bitter fight ahead for the crowded field. The first round of campaign finance reports this election cycle show Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a strong financial position as he fights to hold onto his job: He has nearly $960,000 cash on hand, according to his Wednesday filing.“It’s a symbol of people’s faith in Jack Young being a steady hand and moving the city forward,” said campaign spokesman Myles Handy. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland lawmakers introduce bundle of bills to fund education

    A group of unions and progressive Maryland lawmakers have announced 10 bills that they say could raise $2 billion by 2030. The goal is to generate revenues that would help cover the cost of recommendations outlined in the Kirwan Commission’s report on education. The legislation being proposed by the “Maryland Fair Funding Coalition” would: Require combined reporting for multistate corporations that do business in Maryland. Apply a 1% surtax on capital gains income. Restructure state income tax brackets and tax rates. Cut tax credit programs “with no track record of success” — i.e., that don’t have a demonstrated record of benefiting Maryland’s economy. (WTOP) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Republicans prioritize crime bills, promising to introduce 6 focusing on guns, violent offenders

    Maryland’s Republican state lawmakers are pressing for a series of bills that they say would help keep violent criminals behind bars and improve transparency in the judicial system. The Republican proposals face long odds in the Democrat-led Maryland General Assembly, and some of the bills have been defeated in past years. Del. Nic Kipke, House minority leader, said he is “very optimistic” about the bills’ chance of success. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • New tech tool to expose the influence of big business in politics

    Everyone talks about how big business has too much influence over our political process, and sadly, many of us have witnessed it firsthand. Through meeting after meeting, I’ve watched CEOs and their lobbyists make demands to elected officials that were not in the best interest of their customers. Something was misaligned. Shouldn’t corporations be pushing political agendas that benefit their customers, the people who buy their products and keep them in business?  The problem is that consumers haven’t had an easy way to access information about company policies and practices, so we keep supporting them, and corporations have no reason to change. What we’ve been waiting for is an easy, trackable way to vote with our dollars.  Enter Tribe.  Read Full Story

  • ‘It Makes Me Feel Great’ | Marylanders Work To Give Back During Giving Tuesday

    This time of year, there’s a lot to do at the Maryland Zoo. There are tons of leaves that need to be raked, and that takes a lot of people, but most of those do not work for the zoo. “We have a very small horticultural team, so they rely on volunteers to get a large amount of work done in a short amount of time,” Allison Schwartz, of the Maryland Zoo, said. Most days, Rob Starr drives a desk at Bank of America, but he said he makes a habit of giving back whenever he can. (WJZ-TV)Read Full Article

  • Conference Reading: Poll: Affordable Housing Shortage Worries Montgomery Co. Voters

    How big a problem is the lack of affordable housing in Montgomery County? It’s so significant that a recently-completed poll of county residents listed affordable housing as the issue they’re most concerned about other than education. The poll of 425 county residents, taken Oct. 16-Nov. 2 for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, showed 16% of Montgomery County residents listed the scarcity of affordable housing as their No. 1 issue (29% listed education). (Md. Matters)Read Full Article

  • Ransom: LifeBridge Acquisition of Bon Secours is a Win for West Baltimore

    Too often, the news in west Baltimore isn’t very positive. For a part of the city that faces myriad challenges, this month marked a major win—a new partnership between Bon Secours and LifeBridge Health. Earlier this month, Bon Secours, Mercy Health, and LifeBridge Health completed LifeBridge Health’s acquisition of Bon Secours Hospital. This merger will result in improved health services and an important investment in an area of our city that is deeply in need. At the same time, Bon Secours will continue to its community works program to deliver critical services and housing in west Baltimore.Read Full Article

Business

  • Johns Hopkins startups get boost from Microsoft pilot program

    Startups with Johns Hopkins University’s FastForward program for entrepreneurs have received funding, software licenses, support and more from Microsoft as part of a unique pilot program with the technology giant. The pilot program includes five Johns Hopkins startups receiving funding awards, including two student teams. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Lockheed Martin launches first smart satellite

    A new era of space-based computing is now being tested in-orbit that will enable artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud networking and advanced satellite communications in a robust new software-defined architecture. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced Thursday the launching of the Pony Express 1 mission as a hosted payload on Tyvak-0129, a next-generation Tyvak 6U spacecraft. Pony Express 1, an example of rapid prototyping, was developed, built and integrated in nine months, and was funded completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development funding. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • One of the country’s largest salon chains to close more than 80 stores

    The parent company of Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, and other salon chains will close more than 80 locations around the country starting later in January. The Ratner Cos., based in Vienna, said it will close 10% of its 844 stores. The portfolio currently includes salons under the Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza and Cibu brands. (Wash. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • The Technology 202: Smaller companies taking a risk as they challenge Big Tech in hearing

    Smaller technology companies have largely upheld a code of silence about the power of the larger technology companies on which they often depend for market share and sales. But now, some of them are sharing their stories in the hope that Washington is finally getting serious about cracking down on the power of tech giants. As part of its antitrust investigation, House Judiciary Committee lawmakers are headed to Colorado, where tomorrow they'll hear from upstarts including Tile and Basecamp. It will mark the first time lawmakers will hear from executives in a public setting about going toe-to-toe with companies including Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google, my colleague Tony Romm reports. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Education

  • Community calls for full funding of MCPS budget

    Community members’ message on Wednesday night was clear: The school district and county government should fully fund the next Montgomery County Public Schools operating budget. Dozens of people testified in support of the budget during a hearing in Rockville, calling for funding for more school counselors, arts programming, special education services and expanded support for English language learners. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • School board approves plans for DuFief Elementary School replacement

    The Montgomery County Board of Education has approved a $30 million project to rebuild DuFief Elementary School in Gaithersburg. The project will increase the facility’s capacity from about 430 students to 750 students, according to project documents. This year, DuFief has an enrollment of about 315 students. The new school will sit in the “approximate location of the existing building with a significant reduction in the building’s footprint,” according to project documents. A bus loop will be west of the school. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • New Salisbury University program will train students in data interpretation

    Data interpretation plays a subtle, yet crucial role in our daily lives — it's used anywhere from studying human behavior to forecasting the daily weather. Now, Salisbury University students can get a degree in the field.A new discipline, called data science, is offered through the university's Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, according to an SU news release. The program trains students to interpret, analyze and manipulate data. (Delmarva) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore wins piece of $10M Fannie Mae award to create temporary housing network model for homeless students

    Baltimore’s housing department and a local education consulting firm have won a portion of a $10 million award from Fannie Mae to determine whether a network of temporary housing located near schools and coupled with social services can improve educational outcomes for young children experiencing homelessness.Designed for families with students enrolled in prekindergarten through third grade, the model the consulting firm will design and develop could be turned into a pilot program and eventually scaled throughout the city. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • DC, Maryland, Virginia attorneys general join suit against food stamp limitations

    Attorneys general in the region have joined a lawsuit filed by 14 states, D.C. and New York City against President Donald Trump’s administration in an effort to protect food stamp benefits for the unemployed. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined his counterparts in D.C. and Virginia in filing the suit, which challenges the U.S. Agriculture Department change that will limit each jurisdiction’s ability to extend food stamp benefits beyond a three-month period for some adults. (WTOP)Read Full Article

  • Visit by Vice President Pence strained budget, but Maryland Republican Party finished its year in the black

    Maryland’s Republican Party, hit with unexpectedly high costs associated with a fundraiser featuring Vice President Mike Pence in June, was able to rebound and finish the year in the black, according to its campaign finance report. The party finished with $70,564 on hand, about $26,000 more than the previous year, according to its report filed this week with the Maryland Board of Elections. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • FBI arrests alleged white supremacists from Maryland before Virginia gun rally

    An FBI arrest affidavit accuses three men, two from Maryland, of being white supremacists who possessed a machine gun and smuggled a like-minded colleague into the country from Canada. They were charged after authorities became concerned they were heading to an upcoming gun rights rally in Virginia, according to law enforcement. The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Brian Mark Lemley, Jr., 33, of Elkton and Newark, Delaware; William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19, of Denton; and Patrik Jordan Mathews, 27, a Canadian national, currently of Newark, Delaware, with various gun and immigration violations. They are scheduled to appear in federal court at 2:45. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Corporate Plunge Coming To Chesapeake Bay

    The 2020 Corporate Plunge is coming to the Chesapeake Bay next Friday in support of Special Olympics Maryland. WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5's own Bryan Nehman will be participating in the Corporate Plunge! The head sponsor for the Corporate Plunge is SC&H Group, and its chief marketing officer, Mack McGee, joined Nehman in studio Thursday. Special Olympics Maryland describes the Corporate Plunge as a fun day full of entertainment, food, live music and more with your co-workers. (WBAL) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Editorial: A new era

    One of our favorite lines from one of our favorite movies comes from the 1982 cop-and-convict movie, “48 Hrs.” It’s become a classic American saying, and you’ve probably heard or read it many times and are familiar with it, even if you didn’t know where it comes from. While in the company of San Francisco Police Inspector Jack Cates (Nick Nolte), temporarily-freed prisoner Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) shakes down a bar while trying to find the whereabouts of the thug who killed Cates’ partner. Hammond plucks a cowboy hat off the bar owner’s head and puts it on his own, sticks a toothpick into his mouth and says, “There’s a new sheriff in town ... and his name is Reggie Hammond.” (Times-News)Read Full Article  

  • Braverman, Holleman: Baltimore’s unemployment problem

    It’s a new year and our city continues to struggle with crushing poverty and heart-breaking homicide rates. Nearly everyone agrees that an important way forward is to increase Baltimore residents’ access to good-paying jobs. Agreement on the need for jobs, however, isn’t enough. With mayoral and City Council campaigns underway, now is the time for a concrete plan. The good news is that the city’s official unemployment rate has fallen dramatically since the Great Recession. In October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was close to 5%, compared to close to 12% in February 2010. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • Editorial: LNG by rail: A disaster waiting to happen

    Nearly seven years ago, a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec suffered a disaster of historic proportions when an unattended freight train slipped down a hill and tank cars loaded with crude oil derailed in the downtown. Much of Lac-Mégantic was reduced to embers, consumed by fire and explosions with 30 buildings destroyed and 47 people dead in the half-mile blast radius. It was one of the worst rail disasters in that nation’s history, and a mere 600 miles from Maryland. Now, imagine that instead of crude oil, those tank cars were filled with volatile natural gas that has been cooled to liquid form. The resulting conflagration could have been even worse. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • Editorial: Let’s hope commissioner’s call for women to run in 2022 is heeded

    The five men who make up the 61st Board of Commissioners spoke Tuesday during the annual State of the County event put on by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and, by and large, stuck to territory they’d previously staked out. Important, if familiar, topics were discussed. One surprise came at the end of the speech made by Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, when he called upon the women of Carroll County to begin considering a run for the Board of County Commissioners the next time the five seats are up for election, in 2022. His request was met with sustained applause, coming in a year when the nation is celebrating the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote via the 19th Amendment. (Carr. Co. Times)Read Full Article