Maryland Special Session – House of Delegates

Posted on November 6, 2007


Gov. Martin O’Malley and Speaker Michael Busch will have the votes to pass a tax package in the House of Delegates during the special session of the General Assembly, a package that has some resemblance to the one the governor proposed. That’s just my opinion. And I’m talking only about the tax part, including the progressive income tax, but not the slots part.

The mathematics of Maryland politics is not so hard to calculate in the House, even though it has three times the number of members as the Senate.

The all-Democratic delegations of Montgomery County (24 votes), Prince Georges County (23 votes), Baltimore City (18 votes) and Charles County (4 votes) add up to 69 votes. That’s just two votes shy of a majority. I imagine there will be a few defections among those counties, but only a few. Effective leadership by O’Malley, Busch, and House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, of District 17 in Montgomery County, should be able to limit defections.

To make the majority of 71, I expect the Democrats will get seven or eight votes from Baltimore County, maybe more, considering the good working relationship between County Executive Jim Smith and O’Malley. There are 14 Democrats and six Republicans in the Baltimore County House delegation.

 The leadership will also pick up a few Democrats in Howard County and on the Eastern Shore. Maybe more on the Shore than you think, because the idea of a major slots site at the Ocean Downs harness track between Ocean City and Berlin is unpopular in Worcester and Wicomico Counties, to put it mildly. Democratic delegates from the shore are likely to see a tax increase as mainly affecting the Western Shore, and to vote for taxes as the lesser of two evils, compared to slots.  — Bernie Hayden