Tag: special session

Should Failure to Pass O’Malley’s Gambling Bill Be Considered a Failure at All?

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So we’re getting to the moment in the General Assembly’s special session on gambling where the House of Delegates has a chance to redeem itself. The Senate has passed them a gambling bill largely similar to the “silly bomb” that sucked up the last hours of the regular session and left Maryland with a budget shortfall and several bills on the table. It would appear that the House would do well to pass the bill (which would turn Maryland’s five slots parlors into full-on casinos and add a sixth location in Prince George’s County) to restore its reputation as a legislative body that can get things done.

Will Maryland Lawmakers Turn to Voters to “End the Gridlock?”

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I’ve resigned myself to the idea that we are definitely going to end up with a sixth casino and an expansion into table games at the General Assembly’s second special session that begins today. I mean, if there isn’t a good chance of passing the gambling bill, why would we march our lawmakers into a special session?

The Never-Ending Tax Debate Rages on in Annapolis

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The tax proposal expected to be taken up by the General Assembly in their special session today would generate $247 million in revenue to stave off the “doomsday” budget which would otherwise take effect. It would do so by raising state taxes on high-income earners. According to The Baltimore Sun, the tax hike will amount to an extra $254 in taxes for families earning over $175,000, and an extra $3,269 for those earning over $1.1 million.

Unsurprisingly, this potential tax increase is a catalyst for outrage, as well as outrage at that outrage. Some are saying that the rich shouldn’t be afraid to shoulder a little extra tax burden to preserve education and vital services in these difficult times; others say this tax increase would only be the latest of several that will eventually push the affluent individuals and business out of Maryland. I’ll let you guess who’s who.

Now, it would be hard to convince me that $1.1 million in gross income isn’t plenty of money (that .1 alone is worth $100,000!), even after you apply the hefty taxes you’d be paying if your accountant couldn’t come up with ways to avoid them. But whatever side of this issue you land on – and however righteous you feel in your opinion – it’s hard not to feel at times that you are merely reciting lines for some awful play with no resolution.

This is the weird, boring, endless debate that defines American society. It makes me long for one day in the future when our technology has advanced sufficiently to allow the point to be argued exclusively by robots. We could program them to never allow either side a total ideological victory; taxes and spending would just bob up and down in a predictable decades-long cycle. And we humans would be able to put all our energy toward deciding when a girl is old enough to wear make-up, if it’s irresponsible to walk a dog off-leash, and if Christmas lights should rightly be white or multi-colored.

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