Maryland Special Session – The State Senate

Posted on November 6, 2007

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Two days ago I listed three Democratic senators to watch in the Maryland political drama unfolding over taxes and slots. One of them was Sen. James Brochin, District 42 in Baltimore County.

Nevermind. The Post and the Sun reported this morning that Mr. Brochin will join with Republicans in opposing Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tax initiative. Mr. Brochin is publicly thumbing his nose at the leadership of Senate President Mike Miller and Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, not to mention O’Malley.

It didn’t take long for Mr. Brochin to benefit from that high-profile announcement. He was feted for two hours this aftenoon during Ron Smith Show drivetime on WBAL Radio (1090 am). Talk Show Man and his callers gave Brochin a hero’s welcome for his plan to help Republicans filibuster against taxes. All he needs for his filibuster, Brochin said, is four more Democratic senators to join him and the Republicans. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Meanwhile, Miller wants to increase the cut of slots profits that will go to the casino operators, from 30 percent to 33 percent. That’s on top of the cuts that will go to the horse-racing “industry.” More public-spirited politicians wonder if it would be better for the state to run the casinos, or hire contractors to do it, and keep all the profits to help balance the state budget.

The first important vote of the General Assembly special session came this afternoon (Tuesday) in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.  The committee approved a watered-down version of the progressive income tax, and a proposal to extend the sales tax to landscaping services and computer repair services. The tinkering has only started. — Bernie Hayden

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