Monday, April 27, 2015

Questions to Ask Your Senator and Delegates

Prince George’s County already bears the heaviest property tax burden of any suburban jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan region, yet has the least to show for it.  County residents also pay one of the highest telecommunications taxes in the entire nation.

The Prince George's County charter prohibits raising property and most other taxes without a vote of the people.  Past attempts to raise property and telecommunications taxes have been rejected by the vast majority of voters.

Nevertheless, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker plans significant regressive tax increases, raising the property tax rate by over 15%, and the telecommunications tax by 50%, making the latter the second highest in the nation.

Mr. Baker claims he was authorized to override the county charter and the will of the voters by a law passed by the General Assembly in 2012, commonly referred to as SB 848.  


1.  When you voted for SB 848 did you intend for it to authorize the county executive to override the county charter, repudiate the will of the electorate, and impose tax increases without a referendum.

2.  If that was not your intent, will you now publicly reject Mr. Baker's interpretation of the effect of SB 848 and publicly oppose his attempt to raise taxes without a referendum?

3.  If you did intend for SB 848 to override the county charter, or if you will not reject Mr. Baker's interpretation of the effect of SB 848 and publicly oppose his attempt to raise taxes without a referendum, can you explain why voters should continue to support or respect you when you so obviously disrespect the will of those voters?

Current Prince George's County legislators who voted for SB 848:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Question: What info is available comparing PG expenses/benefits to other counties?

We know from various reports that:
  • Prince George's County has the highest tax burden among DC-area suburbs.
  • Prince George's schools spend well above the average per student, but get close to the worst results.​ ​
​So, how does Prince George's County compare in other areas?  For example:
  • How much does Prince George's compare to other counties on the average expenditure average to process a building permit request?  And how does the burden on the applicant compare to the burden imposed by other counties?
  • How many miles of roads, curbs, and sidewalks are maintained by Prince George's County, and how does the per-mile cost of that maintenance compare to similar activities by other nearby counties?
  • How much does Prince George's spend per senior citizen on services directed at seniors and the aging, and how does that per capita spending compare to other counties?
  • How many hangers-on are in Rushern Baker's immediate office and entourage, and how does that compare to other counties?
  • How many levels of managers and deputies does Prince George's County have between the county executive and the average lowest level worker--road maintainer, permit issuer, inspector, data entry operator, etc., and how does that compare to other counties?
Does anyone have a source for department by department or service by service comparisons?

In their 2010 "Pledge for Prince George's County" Rushern Baker, Mel Franklin, Mary Lehman, Derrick Davis, and others, promised (among other things):
We Pledge the creation of a plan for greater coordination of the entire Prince George's County government with the school system for accelerating improvements in our schools and greater efficiency where possible;
We Pledge to have an independent evaluation, analysis, and audit of Prince George's County revenue and expenditures, to determine if there are more effective financial systems and practices, which can relieve the burden on property owners, while matching income with population growth and required delivery of services;
There is no evidence that those promises have been kept.  How can Baker now ask for a huge tax increase after doing little or nothing to actually coordinate county and school activities and after failing to complete the "independent evaluation, analysis, and audit" that would determine whether any increase is actually warranted?
Note that the "Pledge" website has been removed--perhaps they don't want the public to find their broken promises--but there is a copy here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff: Recent News & Discussion

  • Prince George's Doesn't Need Higher Taxes to Fund Its Schools (9 Apr 2015, Bradley Heard, Prince George's Urbanist)
  • New Comment on Rushern Baker's tax ripoff makes the Wall Street Journal (9 Apr 2015, AnneR1976, PG-Politics, Message)
  • New Comment on Baker's Broken Promises: Taxes & TRIM (9 Apr 2015, Anonymous, PG-Politics, Message)
  • Why won’t Prince George’s leaders honor their voters? (9 Apr 2015, Judy Robinson, Gazette)
  • Oppose the property tax increase (9 Apr 2015, Robert B. Hunter, Gazette)
  • Proposed tax increase in Prince George’s is worth the cost to aid schools, community (9 Apr 2015, Christina Rome, Gazette)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Baker's broken promises: Taxes & TRIM

"I would not work to repeal TRIM."
Gazette 2010 Voters Guide:
Q. What are your thoughts on TRIM? Would you work to repeal or preserve it?
I would not work to repeal TRIM.

Baker's broken promises: Transit to National Harbor

"I would also push for mass-transit across the Wilson Bridge and link it to National Harbor."
Gazette 2006 Voters Guide:
Do you support an east-west metro link and where should it go?
I support the construction of a Purple Line from New Carrollton to Silver Spring. I would also push for mass-transit across the Wilson Bridge and link it to National Harbor.

Baker's broken promises: Gambling

"I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George’s County."
Source: Gazette 2006 Voters Guide:
Do you support allowing slots in Prince George’s? If so, where?
I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George’s County.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff: News and Discussion Links

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rushern Baker's tax ripoff makes the Wall Street Journal

Another Tax Increase Legacy From Martin O'Malley; The would-be presidential candidate created a loophole that could be used to bust local property-tax caps.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, who last week proposed hiking his constituents' property taxes by a remarkable 15.6% and boosting spending by 8.2% in the coming fiscal year. Much of the bounty will go to raise teachers' salaries from the current average of $65,000 to about $75,000.

Never mind the county's teachers already are paid 15% more than the U.S. average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Or that shoveling money at teachers unions mainly delivers their political loyalty rather than educational benefits.

Mr. Baker is betting that county residents will be unable to resist his assurances that this is all "for the children." But we've seen this movie before. In the 1970s the locals went down a similar tax-and-spend road, saw disaster and changed course.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff Enablers in Annapolis

Current Prince George's County legislators who voted for the law that Rushern Baker says allows him to disregard the county charter he is supposed to uphold and thumb his nose at the voters of the county.  (Senate vote, House vote)​
Two current legislators honored the charter and the wishes of the people by voting NO.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Once again, Rushern Baker shows his contempt for voters and the county charter

Rushern Baker ran for office knowing full well the tax limitations in the county charter and the voters' long-term consistent support for those limitations.  

And Baker claimed--falsely it seems now--that he would not try to repeal the limitations.

Nevertheless, he is now trying an end run around the charter that he is supposed to uphold and enforce, planning to raise property taxes at least 15%, without voter approval, and in direct violation of the terms of the charter.

And he apparently doesn't have either the honesty or the guts to submit his plan to the voters as the charter requires.

This is not the first time Baker has worked to increase taxes in violation of the charter.  Over a decade ago, as a delegate, he was a prime mover in getting the General Assembly to override the charter and burden us with one of the very highest telephone taxes in the entire country.  His pro-tax, anti-charter, and-voter message has been obvious over the years.  People responsible for electing him either didn't bother to look closely at his record or didn't care.

Now the budget goes to the county council.  What will your council member do?

Gazette, 11 Aug 2010:
Gazette: What are your thoughts on TRIM? Would you work to repeal or preserve it?
Baker:  I would not work to repeal TRIM.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Despite PG's already heavy tax burden, Rushern Baker proposes real property, personal property & telecom tax increases

​That's right--Tax and Spend Rushern Baker wants to raise all sorts of ​taxes and fees--even above the TRIM limit. 

And his plan would most adversely affect low and middle income residents and senior citizens who already bear a higher tax burden than most residents of most nearby jurisdictions.

Also, note that even though he seems to be proud of his proposed tax-increasing budget, the fine print at the end contains a threat:
any dissemination, distribution, copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited by federal law and may expose you to civil and/or criminal penalties.


For immediate release:
March 13, 2015

For constituent communication concerning proposed budget:
Phone: 3-1-1 (M-F 7am-7pm)

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Presents FY 2016 Budget

Upper Marlboro, MD -  Today, Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III in accordance with the Prince George's County Charter presented his FY 2016 Proposed Operating and Capital Budgets.  The Proposed FY 2016 Budget for all funds is $3.63 billion, an increase of $197 million or 6% over FY 2015.  The General Fund accounts for 84% of all spending in FY 2016 and will increase by $182.3 million, or 6%. County source revenues increase by $180.6 million or 11%.  The growth is primarily due to proposed rate increases to the real property, personal property, telecommunications and hotel tax rates which results in increased funding to education and public safety priorities. 

"As we all know, education and public safety are the two key quality of life issues that attract people to live in any jurisdiction and the most sought after counties in this region, this state, and this nation are the ones that are safe and have the best public education systems," said Prince George's County Rushern L. Baker, III. "Our continued growth and success rely heavily upon the perception that our streets and neighborhoods are safe and that our school system is improving and can compete with neighboring jurisdictions.  The proposed FY 2016 budget shows that Prince George's County is serious about education and we understand that a great school system is the most important investment that this generation can do for our children."

The proposed budget is premised on achieving three primary objectives: (1) achieving academic improvements in K-12 education across all public schools, (2) maintaining the County's commitment to providing a full range of public services and (3) ensuring our long-term financial integrity.  With these objectives as the foundation, the FY 2016 presented fiscal plan has a combination of spending increases and reductions which include revenue provisions. To watch the Proposed FY 2016 Budget presentation and for more resources and information please go to  

The proposed FY 2016 operating budget includes the financial resources necessary to support higher educational achievement.  The outcome of this investment will be a County school system that will be most noted for rapidly improving its schools by implementing high quality educational programs and academic rigor for all students.  Additionally, the proposed budget for FY 2016 builds upon the many successes the County has achieved in making our communities and neighborhoods safer.  The respective budgets for Public Safety agencies and Courts provide the resources necessary to protect County residents and businesses, and continue the high caliber of performance attained during the first term of the Baker Administration. 

In FY 2016, real property tax receipts are projected to total $776.5 million, an increase of $127.0 million or 19.6% over the FY 2015 budget. The growth is primarily due to the FY 2016 education revenue package which recommends a $0.15 increase in the real property tax rate from $0.96 to $1.11 per $100 of assessable value in FY 2016.    The County is authorized to increase the real property tax rate based on Chapter 6 of the 2012 Laws of Maryland (Senate Bill 848).  This law allows the County's property tax rate to be set higher than the rate authorized under the County's charter.  The bill requires that any additional revenue generated as a result of the higher property tax rate is for the sole purpose of funding the approved budget of the local school system.  The proposed rate adjustment is expected to generate an additional $104.9 million for the school system.  Excluding the additional revenue assigned to the system, the County's real property tax revenues are projected to increase by $22.1 million or 3.4% in FY 2016 from the FY 2015 budget.

To mitigate the impact of the proposed real property tax increase, the County will offer a local Homeowners' Tax Credit Program in FY 2016.  The Homeowners' Tax Credit Program will be supplemental to the State's property tax relief program that allows a property tax credit for households whose total gross income is $60,000 and below. The County's supplemental tax credit will equal 25% of the State's homeowners' tax credit amount.  On an individual basis, on average, the estimated supplemental credit equates to an additional $375 annual benefit to homeowners.  To view a chart that explains the Homeowners' Tax Credit Program, please click here.

Similarly, the FY 2016 proposed budget continues efforts to improve the health and well-being of County residents.  The respective budgets for the human services agencies provide for continued support of their delivery systems which result in better access to care and services for our residents in need.  In particular, it provides additional resources to assist vulnerable populations, such as our veterans, and to improve our response to domestic violence.  In addition, the FY 2016 proposed budget maintains the commitment to grow our economy by expanding our commercial tax base and creating jobs.  Supporting this effort are the budgets for the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, Prince George's Community College, and funding for the Economic Development Incentive Fund.
"The FY 2016 proposed operating budget provides a framework for propelling the County into new heights and structurally rebalancing our budget," added County Executive Baker.  "The proposed measures are bold yet necessary in order to ensure the fiscal health and future of our County. These proposed actions require sacrifices by everyone – residents, businesses and county employees.  However, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to transforming this County into a premier and nationally recognized jurisdiction."

The FY 2016 proposed budget includes the following:
·           An education revenue package which allows the County to make a historic investment in the Prince George's County Public School System.   With this proposal, the County will invest an additional $135.7 million in the school system. The education proposal is funded through increases in the real property, personal property and telecommunications tax rates. The additional revenue generated from the rate increases will be dedicated to the Board of Education in order to directly assist in boosting student achievement through expanding effective programs.
·           An increase in the hotel tax from 5% to 7% - a rate that recognizes our growing travel and tourism industry and will be comparable to our neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland.  This is estimated to generate approximately $3.1 million in additional revenue.
·           An increase in various building, licensing and related permitting and technology fees, to allow the County to continue its significant investments and commitments of improving customer service and support technology upgrades at the one-stop shop within the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement.
·           Implementation of a Reduction In Force (RIF) of 110 filled positions in the General Fund.
·           Five day furlough of all County employees funded through the General Fund.
·           Furthermore, to assist in maintaining the County's 'AAA' bond rating, the FY 2016 proposed budget is based on conservative estimates and avoidance of using fund balance for ongoing expenditures to preserve the County's General Fund reserves – Charter-mandated 5% and the financial policy-required 2%

Adhering to the Prince George's County Charter, the FY 2016 Proposed Budget must be submitted by March 13, 2015 to the Prince George's County Council. The Council must adopt the FY 2016 Proposed Budget on or before June 1, 2015.

This E-mail and any of its attachments may contain Prince George's County Government or Prince George's County 7th Judicial Circuit Court proprietary information or Protected Health Information, which is privileged and confidential. This E-mail is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this E-mail, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited by federal law and may expose you to civil and/or criminal penalties. If you have received this E-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the original and any copy of this E-mail and any printout.

Rushern Baker's faux transit advocacy, another reason not to believe him

When he first ran for county executive, Rushern Baker promised that he would "never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George's County."

We all know that he broke both of those promises.  He fought to bring legalized gambling to the county.  He has done nothing--not even lip service--to bring mass transit to the National Harbor area or across the bridge.

In his later campaign and speeches he has often claimed to be for "Transit Oriented Development." 

Now that we know from the Post* that there will be no transit--not even bus service--to his casino at National Harbor, it is even more apparent than before that 

Rushern Baker simply cannot be trusted.  His promises mean nothing.

And it is indeed unfortunate that the media and his myriad supporters let him get away with it.

* Post: MGM National Harbor says public buses won't have access to casino site.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Updated: Del. Holmes & Sen. Peters Propose Legalizing Gambling in Homes and Senior Living Facilities

HB0157 - Entitled: Criminal Law - Gaming - Home Games
Sponsored by: Delegate Holmes
Synopsis:  Allowing a person to conduct a home game that is a game of chance or skill involving wagering that is conducted in a person's home or a residential property restricted to housing for persons at least 55 years old and allows a player to compete directly against one or more other players; prohibiting a person from conducting a home game involving a player's use of an electronic device that connects to the Internet; and prohibiting a person from benefiting financially in any way, directly or indirectly, other than from specified winnings.

SB0184 - Entitled: Criminal Law - Gaming - Home Games
PG Sponsor: Senator Peters
Synopsis:    Allowing a person to conduct a home game that is a game of chance or skill involving wagering that is conducted in a person's home and allows a player to compete directly against one or more other players; prohibiting a person from conducting a home game involving a player's use of an electronic device that connects to the Internet; and prohibiting a person from benefiting financially in any way, directly or indirectly, other than from winnings accrued by participating as a player in a game.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prince George's County residents bear about the highest tax burden in the region (Updated)

Original posting from 25 Mar 2012, Prince George's County residents bear about the highest tax burden in the region (List of sources), follows the more recent items.  Note that some of the older links may no longer be valid because many website change links and make searching for historical data difficult to impossible.  I have been unable to find any recent mainstream media reports on relative tax burdens.

Recent media reports about plight of African-American families in Prince George's County have ignored the role that high taxes may play in contributing to their financial problems.

Likewise, media stories about the county's looming $100 million plus budget, also ignore the already high tax rates and fail to explore why crime is among the highest, and schools and services are among the poorest, despite such high taxes.

Maryland Income Tax Information - Local Tax Rates
Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City levy a local income tax which we collect on the state income tax ... Local officials set the rates, which range between 1.25 percent and 3.20 percent. ... Prince George's County residents pay the maximum allowable rate, 3.20 percent [for both 2014 and 2015].

Forbes: When It Rains, It Pours Tax Dollars In Maryland
January 3, 2014 -- "... only nine counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George) and the city of Baltimore – out of twenty-four total counties in Maryland – are responsible ..."

Brookings: Map: Property Taxes in Your County
Nov 26, 2013 -- Comparison of "taxes paid as a percentage of home value" from clicking on each county shown:

  District of Columbia: 0.50%
  Anne Arundel: 0.71%
  St. Mary's: 0.72%
  Calvert: 0.76%
  Montgomery: 0.82%
  Arlington: 0.83%
  Charles: 0.84%
  Baltimore County: 0.92%
  Fairfax: 0.94%
  Howard: 1.02%
  Prince George's: 1.09%
  Baltimore City: 1.20%
  Alexandria: Not available

Admissions and Amusements Tax
Admissions and Amusement taxes are levied on numerous activities and items
in every subdivision with the exception of Caroline County. ... Twenty one counties employ a single rate, ranging from 1% in Calvert County to 10% in Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Charles and Prince George’s Counties.

DC Government: Tax Rates and Tax Burdens, Washington Metropolitan Area
Issued September 2012
Sales and Use Tax: ... Residential usage of utilities is not in the general sales and use tax base in the District and the state of Maryland. However, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties do tax the use of utilities. While Montgomery County’s energy tax is levied upon the distributor, its cost is effectively borne by the customer. Prince George’s County’s rate is structured to approximate a 6 percent sales and use tax on energy consumption by the customer. ...
Recordation and Transfer Taxes: A long, detailed discussion suggests that Prince George's County taxes are higher than neighboring jurisdictions due to a 1.4% recordation tax.

25 Mar 2012, Prince George's County residents bear about the highest tax burden in the region (List of sources)

Maryland residents pay higher state, local taxes than Va., D.C. ...
Mar 30, 2011 – Residents of Prince George's County pay $2000 a year more than those in Arlington County ... Taking into account income, vehicle and property taxes, Prince George's County residents pay even more than those in Montgomery County, which has always had one of the largest tax burdens in the region. A family that pays $14,400 a year in Montgomery would pay $15,200 in Prince George's.

Maryland Income Tax Information - Local Tax Rates
Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City levy a local income tax which we collect on the state income tax ... Local officials set the rates, which range between 1.25 percent and 3.20 percent. ... Prince George's County residents pay the maximum allowable rate, 3.20 percent.

Who Pays More Taxes? Virginia, Maryland or D.C.? - Raw Fisher
 Jan 9, 2008 – All told, if you live in Montgomery County and make $75000 a year, you face the biggest tax burden in the region, at $8469. Prince George's comes in second at $8,408. The remaining jurisdictions are bunched closely together at a considerably lower price: D.C., $6,986, Fairfax, $6,903, Arlington, $6,886 and city of Alexandria, $6,769.

Taxes lowest for DC residents and car-free Virginians - Greater ...
Feb 22, 2011 – In almost all scenarios, DC's tax burden is the lowest. ... Property taxes are highest in Prince George's County, even though average home values are lower there.

Interesting MoCo and PG have higher tax burdens than DC at all ... › ... › Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland
Jul 6, 2011 – Maryland under the Dems is becoming an oppressive tax regime with declining returns. Taxes on DC Families Remain Lowest in the Region ..highest in Prince George's County, even though average home ...

Gazette.Net: Alease Bowles: Preserve Maryland's middle-class tax ...
Mar 1, 2012 – Prince George's County property taxes are among the highest in the state.

The Good News About DC Taxes: Taxes on DC Households Are in ...
Apr 13, 2003 – For almost all income levels and family types, the tax burden is lower in DC than in Prince George's County.

Taxing surprise: P.G. hits hardest - Groups - Yahoo
Apr 3, 2011 – Residents bear a higher tax burden with inadequate services in Prince George's County,

Family of Two Needs $50000 Per Year to Cover Costs in Prince ...
Feb 23, 2012 – COLLEGE PARK – Families with young children in Prince George's County need ... the past 10 years, driven largely by the cost of housing, daycare and taxes. ... “I also think we have a greater housing burden than any other ...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rushern Baker seems to be admitting that his spending will result in $133 million deficit

From the Capital Gazette, 23 Jan 2015
Hogan budget would cut state worker pay, city school aid
by Michael Dresser & Erin Cox, Baltimore Sun
... Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III expressed relief that an anticipated $30 million for a new hospital in his county was kept in the budget. But he said the $19 million impact of the geographic index cut there would be a blow atop the $114 million revenue shortfall Prince George's faces next year.

"This will exacerbate the problems. There will not be an answer for making up that gap," Baker said. ...
Note that Baker will have three "Budget Listening Sessions" over the next few weeks:

Sessions Schedules & Information

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:00 PM
    Oxon Hill High School
    6701 Leyte Drive, Oxon Hill, Maryland

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 7:00 PM
    Prince George’s Community College
    Renne Forum, 301 Largo Road
    Upper Marlboro, Maryland

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 7:00 PM
    Laurel High School
    Spartan Hall, 8000 Cherry Lane
    Laurel, Maryland

Download flyer

How Do I Register to Testify?

People who are interested in testifying must pre-register on the County website or by calling 301-952-4547 / 301-985-3894 TDD Monday thru Friday 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.  Testimony will be limited to 3 minutes per presenter and one speaker per organization.

Watch Live/On Demand
FY 2016 Budget Listening Sessions

Monday, January 19, 2015

Recent Prince George's Related Posts in Other Blogs

Local Blogs:

An Open Letter to  Kenneth B. Haines, by Robert Windley, 13 Jan 2014
Response to a Gazette opinion piece by  Kenneth B. Haines, President of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.
Indicted Former PG County Housing Deputy Director Linked to Two County Executives, by Lorraine Yuriar, 16 Jan 2015, also posted as More Scandal in PG County!

What's Up & Down in Prince George's County, by Ceemac, 16 Jan 2015
  • Dr. Angelique Simpson-Marcus out as principal of Largo High School.
  • Delegate Alonzo Washington has proposed legislation that would snatch back credit cards from the Board of Education.
  • Crime rates continue to go down in PGCo and the ninth grade promotion rates at Charles H. Flowers and Potomac High Schools are up by double digits.
  • Crime in Riverdsale Park/College Park area.
  • Arrest in St. Louis of Vinnie Taylor for March 20 murder in Capitol Heights.


Former Los Angeles Leader Joins Broad Center as Superintendent in Residence, by Denisa R. Superville, Education Week News Blog, 13 Jan 2015
Education Week News (blog)-Jan 14, 2015
John Deasy, the former superintendent in Los Angeles, will join the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems as a consultant serving as superintendent-in-residence.  Deasy, who resigned under pressure from LAUSD in October, ... In addition to serving in Los Angeles, Deasy worked as superintendent in Prince George's County, Md.; the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in Calif.; ...

 Activists mount clean power push against political headwinds, by Timothy B, Wheeler, Baltimore Sun Blog, 16 Jan 2015
Pushing against a stiff political headwind, environmental activists and their allies are urging Maryland lawmakers to double down on the state's commitment to "clean" electricity. ... Del. Dereck E. Davis, chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, which handles such legislation, suggested the bill faces extremely long odds against passage this year.  "I'm not saying it's not a worthy goal," said Davis, a Prince George's County Democrat. "The sooner we get off fossil fuels, the better. ...
Dividing the Loot in Maryland, by David Boaz, Cato Insitute Blog, 17 Jan 2015
Montgomery and Prince George’s officials are trying to make sure their counties are not forgotten by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan. ... “The uncertainty of the new administration creates more of an impetus ... for larger jurisdictions to come together,” said Prince George’s County Council Chair Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), who wants to form a “large-county caucus” to lobby in Annapolis.. .

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bucking Wishes of Most Maryland Voters & Gov. Hogan, PG Legislators Propose Higher Tax & Spending

In November, the majority of Maryland voters chose the candidate offering lower taxes and reduced government spending over the candidate representing higher taxes and undisclosed increased budget deficits caused by out of control spending.

Prince George's County voters, on the other hand, voted for incumbents with a history of raising taxes, and for new candidates supported by those incumbents and their machines.  Price George's voters essentially blessed the last eight years of over 40 tax and fee increases, increased spending, and ever-growing out of control "structural" deficits.

So, although the financial winds may be starting to blow the other way for most of Maryland, Prince George's voters my get what they voted for.  The new General Assembly session has barely started, but Prince George's legislators are moving right ahead with more taxes and deficit spending.  Just a sampling:

A bill (PG 413-15) with a misleading title, proposed by Delegates Walker and Washington, would create a new county sales tax.  This would be on top of the 20% increase in the state sales tax passed by the General Assembly just a few years ago.

     Although the sponsors claim that the proceeds would be used for education, we all know from past experience that such promises mean little.  We heard the same kind of promise about the lottery, but much of that revenue we to subsidize stadiums for sports moguls, not for education.

     Adding such a tax for just the county would help drive businesses and customers out of the county to surrounding, less greedy, better governed jurisdictions.  It would be the exact opposite of what we need for increased economic development or for the "high-end" businesses that our elected officials falsely claim to support.

     Over the years there have been numerous media reports that Prince George's resident bear the heaviest or second heaviest individual tax burden s in the state or the region.  Apparently Delegates Walker and Washington are not satisfied and want to gouge even more out of us.

The bag tax is back--or will it be a ban?

     One bill (PG 415-15) by Senator Pinsky, that keeps rearing its ugly head would provide for a 5 cent tax on grocery bags.  The tax is simple, but what it would cover is not.  The wording is convoluted and discriminatory.

     Another bill (PG 403-15) by Delegate Walker, would ban bags rather than tax them.

     In both cases, these elected officials seem to have an animosity toward just one kind of business and would arbitrarily and capriciously tax or ban their bags while excepting identical and similar bags used by most other businesses.

And on the spending side:

Senators Miller and Peters and Delegate Walker are back with a bill (PG 407-15) to require artificial turf for school athletic fields.  The will be an unfunded mandate forced on the county without funding, and it is just one of several bills proposed to micro-manage county schools (more about that in another message).

There is a bill (MCPG 108-15) to increase the salary of WSSC members by over two-thirds.

There is a bill (PG 307-15) to increase the salaries of Prince George's alcoholic beverage license commissioners.

And we still haven't seen the usual plethora of "bond bills" (outright pork) or bills to establish new agencies or task forces to do what someone else should already be doing.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yesterday was Fib Day in Annapolis

The day our elected officials stood up and swore a solemn oath to "support the Constitution of the United States" and to support the Constitution of the Sate of Maryland.

That's a promise that most or all of our returning Prince George's County senators and delegates have broken in the past.

Will they honor the oath this year?  Or will they again let their own personal agendas and special interests override their solemn promises?

Monday, December 15, 2014

PG Taxers: 40+ increases not enough, greedy legislators will use any excuse to grab even more

PG 416-15 -- Prince George's - Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags

Sponsor     Senator Pinsky

Synopsis     This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to impose, by law, a fee on a store for the use of disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products

Read bill text in rich-text or PDF format.

School spending priorities--Education vs. legislator's unfunded mandates to benefit special interests

At a time when Prince George's County is running a deficit, and the head of the school system has recently announced spending freezes and cutbacks, legislators are again trying to divert scarce resources away from actual education by forcing Prince George's schools to spend money on expensive and high-maintenance artificial turf. While the pending bill is sponsored by Senators Peters and Miller, the driving force behind this failed bill last year was Del. Jay (Nanny) Walker.

Note that this is only one of several proposed bills that would increase legislative micro-managing of the Prince George's County school system.

PG 407-15 -- Prince George's Board of Education - Public High Schools - Outdoor Synthetic Turf Fields

Sponsor Senator Peters and Senator Miller

Synopsis Pending

Bill Text None Available

PG's Authoritarian Nannies: Nanny Walker proposal banning biodegradable paper bags allows non-grocery plastic bags

Del. Jay (Nanny) Walker's a poorly drafted bill aimed at inconsistently, arbitrarily and capriciously banning selected types of bags received by, and often reused by, most low and middle income consumers would ban biodegradable paper grocery bags while allowing the continued use of many kinds of non-degradable plastic bags.

Why? Do the grocery industry and consumers have less clout than the various special interests that Walker would exempt from his ban?

Note that Walker's bill would permit the use of plastic bags for yard waste despite Prince George's County's recently adopted ban and requirement that yard waste be placed in paper bags.
PG 403-15 -- Prince George's - Authority to Prohibit the Use of Disposable Bags

Sponsor Delegate Walker

Synopsis This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to enact a law that prohibits a store from using disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products. “Disposable bag” means a paper or plastic bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale. “Disposable bag” does not include: 1. a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mls thick and is designed and manufactured for multiple reuse; 2. a bag used to: package bulk items, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items; contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish, whether prepackaged or not; contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other damp items; contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; and contain a newspaper or dry cleaning; 3. a bag provided by a pharmacist to contain prescription drugs; 4. plastic bags sold in packages containing multiple plastic bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags; and 5. a bag that a restaurant provides to a customer to take food or drink away from the restaurant.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Updated Prince George's Council Information

Committees (as of noon, 3 Dec 2014):
  • Public Safety and Fiscal Management (PSFM):
    • Chair, Council Member Obie Patterson; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Andrea Harrison
    • Staff:
      • Frank Porter, Committee Director, (301) 952-3695
        Colette Gresham, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-5434
        Catherine Lynch, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4195
  • Health, Education and Human Services (HEHS): 
    • Chair, Council Member Karen Toles; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Derrick L. Davis 
    • Staff
      • Sandra Eubanks, Committee Director, (301) 952-5353
      • Leroy Maddox, Legislative Officer. (301) 952-3846
      • Gloria Hall, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4525
  • Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE): 
    • Chair, Council Member Mary Lehman; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Todd Turner 
    • Staff:
      • Hawi Sanu. Committee Director, (301) 952-3698
      • ??? Todd Turner. Legislative Officer, (301) 952-4116 ???
      • Victoria Middleton, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-3694  
  • Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED): 
    • Chair, Council Member Andrea Harrison; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Dannielle Glaros 
    • Staff: 
      • Jackie Brown, Committee Director, (301) 952-3718
      • Karen Zavakos, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-3435
      • Barbara Stone, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4199
  • Rules and General Assembly
    • Chair, Council Member Derrick L. Davis; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Todd Turner 
    • Staff:
      • ??? Todd Turner. Legislative Officer, (301) 952-4116 ???
      • Colette Gresham, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-5434
      • Jennifer Jenkins, Committee Staff, (301) 952-3463

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Corrupt Council Conspires to Cripple Term Limits

County Council of Prince George's County

Notice of Public Hearings

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Council Hearing Room
County Administration Building
114741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

10:00 am

CB=54-2014 - An Act Concerning Amendment of Section 307A, Charter of Prince George's County for the purpose of proposing an amendment to increase the number of consecutive terms that a person may serve on the County Council or as County Executive from two terms to three terms.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PG-Politics Endorses and Opposes: General Assembly

Comments (recommendations below):  PG-Politics opposes the reelection of every incumbent member of the General Assembly who claims to represent Prince George's County.

Members of the General Assembly have all taken an oath of office promising to uphold the U.S. and Maryland constitutions--and they have broken their solemn oaths.  While working to find implied constitution rights (like gay marriage), they have stomped on the explicit rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Over the past few years, they have passed, or passively approved, some 40 increases in taxes and fees. 

They allowed to go into effect a disgustingly obscene redistricting plan making Maryland the most ridiculously Gerrymandered state in the nation.

Once again, they acted anti-democratically to dilute the voting rights and voting effectiveness of Prince Georgians by providing for the addition of partisan political patronage jobs to the non-partisan Board of Education.

They passed pro-criminal laws protecting the lives of killers and providing special benefits to violators of federal immigration and drug laws.

At the same time, they passed numerous authoritarian nanny laws aimed at controlling our lives and/or banning or criminalizing what had been normal everyday behavior.

They failed to provide effective oversight of the botched rollout of Maryland's health exchange, thus allowing Lt. Gov. Brown to oversee wasting millions and millions of taxpayer dollars..

While severely criticizing a Republican drunk, our delegates hypocritically retained a Democratic drunk driver as their majority leader.

None of the incumbents deserve reelection.


General: PG-Politics recommends not voting for incumbent delegates and senators.  Withholding your vote from unopposed incumbents in the primary election, and voting for one of the few Republicans or writing in names in the general election, are about the only ways of indicating a lack of confidence in the performance of incumbents who are unopposed in the primary election..

Senate races:

District 21: Democrat: Don't voteRepublican: No candidates.

District 22:  Democrat: Don't vote.  Republican: Janice Fountaine is unopposed.

District 23Democrat: Vote for David GroganRepublican: No candidates.

District 24Democrat:  Vote for Bobby Henry.  Incumbent Joanne Benson is known to have lied to community groups on key issues.  Republican: No candidates.

District 25Democrat: Vote for Terry Goolsby rather than too-dumb-to-be-a-crook Sen. Ulysses Currie, or Del. Melony Griffith, who had a white waiter fired on racial grounds and supported taxpayer welfare  subsidies for multi-millionaire sports moguls.  Republican:  Kory Boone is unopposed.

District 26Democrat:  Vote for Brian Woolfolk rather than Sen. Anthony Muse, Del. Veronica Turner, or Jerry Mathis (convicted of campaign violations from an earlier race).  Republican:  Kelley Howells is unopposed.

District 27:  Democrat: Don't vote.  Republican:  Joe Crawford is unopposed.

District 47Democrat: Vote for Bladensburg Mayor Walter James rather than Sen. Victor Ramirez.   Republican: No candidates.

Delegate races:
District 21: Democrat: Don't vote. Republican:  There are three seats, but Katherine Butcher is the only candidate.

District 22: Democrat: Don't vote.  The primary qualifications of the lone democratic challenger (Rushern Baker IV) to the three incumbents are his name and his father (serial-campaign-promise-breaker Rushern Baker III).  Republican:  There are three seats, but Lynn White is the only candidate.

District 23BDemocrat:  Vote for Thea Wilson and Ron Watson over Del. Marvin Holmes and misogynist, interest conflicted Del. Joe Vallario.  Independent:  Shukoor Ahmed will be on the general election, but not primary, ballot.  There are no Republican candidates.  Republican:  There are two seats, but Mike Hethmon is the only candidate.   

District 24: Democrat:  Vote for Erek Barron for one slot.  The other two slots are a difficult choice.  None of the three incumbents (Howard, Swain, Vaughn) or the criminal former delegate (Alston) deserve election.  Philip Raines may be the best of the remaining crew.  Greg Hall seems likable and understands the needs of small business, but his gunslinging, drug dealing past is a problem.  Note that challenger Marva Jo Camp was a leader in past attempts to repeal or modify TRIM.  The other candidates don't seem to be campaigning for the job at all.  Republican:  There are three seats, but Cy Okoro is the only candidate.

District 25: Democrat: Don't vote.  The challengers mounting real campaigns are too closely linked to the incumbents.  Several of the other candidates have either no campaign information online or have sent out bad links.  Note that former Del. Juanita Miller was also a controversial WSSC commissioner who considered ability and performance to be of secondary importance in selecting WSSC contractors.    Republican: No candidates.

District 26Democrat:  Vote for Tamara Davis Brown, Xavier Aragona, and Keith Gray.    Republican: No candidates.

District 27A: DemocratDon't VoteRepublican: Joe Crawford is unopposed.

District 27B: Democrat: Vote for LaRhonda OwensRepublican: Phil Parenti.  (Note that the Washington Post made no Republican endorsement in this race claiming that there were no contested Republican races).

District 47ADemocrat:  Vote for Malcolm Augustine and Jimmy TarlauRepublican:  There are two seats, but Fred Price is the only candidate.

District 47BDemocrat:  Will Campos is unopposed.  Republican: No candidates.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PG-Politics Endorses: County Offices

Note that in several races PG-Politics recommends not voting for the unopposed incumbent as the only way of expressing a vote of no confidence or opposition.

County ExecutiveDon't vote in this race.  Rushern Baker is unopposed in the primary.  He has a record of breaking his campaign promises.  Although he claims his takeover of the schools (one of his broken promises, along with broken promises about gambling, ethics, and transit) has improved education, there is no proof that it has accomplished anything beyond providing more high-paying patronage jobs for educrats.  There are no Republican candidates.  Consider one of the independents in the general election.

State's Attorney: Angela Alsobrooks has done a good job and is unopposed.  There are no Republican candidates.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Sydney Harrison is far superior to incumbent Marilynn Bland, who has brought disrespect to the office and the county.  There are no Republican candidates.

Sheriff: Melvin High has done a good job.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 1:  Unopposed incumbent Mary Lehman has done a fair job, despite being wrong on a number of issues.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 2:  Vote for Del. Doyle Niemann.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 3:  Vote for Danielle Glaros. There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 4:  Vote for Bowie council member Todd Turner.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 5Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Andrea Harrison does not impress, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 6: Former Del. Gerron Levi is a far better choice than appointed incumbent Derrick Davis.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 7: Capitol Heights Mayor Kito James is a better choice than pro-sprawl scofflaw Karen (105 mph) Toles.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 8Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Obie Patterson does not impress, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 9Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Mel Franklin has disappointed by going over to the Dark Side, especially on development issues, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

McCartney: Brown's chutzpah--most shameless and misleading campaign boast.

See the end of this posting for a list of the Prince George's County legislators who have endorsed Anthony Brown and presumably are complicit in the apparently successful attempt to cover up the Maryland healthcare exchange mess and put off any formal findings of blame or accountability related to Brown's incompetence and evasion until after Brown is elected to a position that is probably beyond his abilities.

I have also posted a full list of Prince George's officials whom Brown's site claims have endorsed him, but at least one person on Brown's list denies having made any endorsement..

Washington Post
Robert McCartney, Columnist
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown shows gall by claiming Md. is ‘leader’ on health-care reform

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) has staked an early claim to the dubious honor of making our region’s most shameless and misleading 2014 campaign boast.

In a display of world-class chutzpah, Brown’s Web site asserts that he “has positioned Maryland as the national leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

National leader? Absolutely — but at dysfunctional computer systems.

... apparently counting on voters to forget or ignore that the Free State just scrapped as unworkable ... the core of its $125 million health benefit exchange. ...

... Brown’s powerful allies in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration and the General Assembly are protecting his reputation. They have ensured that no independent state inquiry into the exchange’s problems is completed until well after the primary and general elections. ...

Prince George's legislators who have endorsed Brown and have failed to ensure a timely investigation of his role in the expensive and wasteful failure of Maryland's health exchange:
  • Joanne C. Benson, State Senator (24) 
  • Ulysses Currie, State Senator (25)
    • Currie's defense on federal corruption charges argued that he was too dumb to be a crook
  • Dereck E. Davis, Delegate (25)
  • Barbara A. Frush, Delegate (21)
  • Marvin E. Holmes, Jr., Delegate (23B)
  • Carolyn J. B. Howard, Delegate (24)
  • Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., State Senate President 
  • Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, Delegate (21)
  • Douglas J. J. Peters, State Senator (23)
  • James Carew Rosapepe, State Senator (21)
  • Veronica Turner, Delegate (26) (Candidate for MD Senate)
  • Kriselda Valderrama, Delegate (26)
  • Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Delegate (23 A)
  • Michael L. Vaughn, Delegate (24)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prince George's' Pro-Failure, Anti-Accountability Politicians

As has been widely reported, the Maryland Health Exchange has been a monumental and extremely expensive fiasco.

In the months leading up to the launch of this disaster, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown regularly bragged about his role in managing the program, how it was one of his top priorities, and how that qualifies him to become our next governor.

But once it became clear that the program was a massive failure, even after months of warnings, Brown became evasive, tried to minimize his role, and did nothing useful to fix or manage fixing the program.

Despite an eventual insincere, pro-forma acceptance of responsibility, Brown tried to run away as fast as he could from a problem of his own creation.  And he and his supporters have been working hard to ensure that there is no thorough, independent investigation before the coming elections.

It ought to be clear by now that Brown is incompetent, or was asleep, or both, and does not have the courage or integrity or competence to standup and promptly admit and fix his mistakes.

I find it hard to believe that any thinking person would hire this man for, and trust him with, any major management job.

So, why are so many Prince George's County politicians endorsing Brown?
  • Do they want an incompetent, untrustworthy governor, or
  • Are they asleep and not paying attention, or
  • Have they been bought off with either campaign money or promises of favors?
Do we really want these supporters of failure and evasion to continue to govern us?

Legislators and county officials:
  • Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s State’s Attorney
  • Joanne C. Benson, State Senator (24) 
    • Benson also endorsed gunslinger Greg Hall fpr delegate
  • Ulysses Currie, State Senator (25)
    • Currie's defense on federal corruption charges argued that he was too dumb to be a crook
  • Dereck E. Davis, Delegate (25)
  • Derrick Leon Davis, Prince George’s County Council (6)
  • Donna Edwards, Representative (MD-4) 
  • Mel Franklin, Prince George’s County Council Chair (9)
  • Barbara A. Frush, Delegate (21)
  • Andrea C. Harrison, Prince George’s County Council (5)
  • Melvin C. High, Prince George’s County Sheriff
  • Marvin E. Holmes, Jr., Delegate (23B)
  • Carolyn J. B. Howard, Delegate (24)
  • Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip (MD-5)
  • Cereta A. Lee, Prince Georges County Register of Wills
  • Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., State Senate President 
  • Eric C. Olson, Prince George’s County Council (3)
  • Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, Delegate (21)
  • Douglas J. J. Peters, State Senator (23)
  • James Carew Rosapepe, State Senator (21)
  • Karen R. Toles, Prince George’s County Council (7)
    • Toles is known for running away from police at 105 miles per hour
  • Ingrid M. Turner, Prince George’s County Council (4)
  • Veronica Turner, Delegate (26)
  • Kriselda Valderrama, Delegate (26)
  • Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Delegate (23 A)
  • Michael L. Vaughn, Delegate (24)
Municipal officials:
  • Marcus Afzali, Councilmember of College Park
  • Vernon Archer, Mayor of Riverdale Park
  • Lois Blue, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Cynthia Bowden, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Trina Brown, Councilmember of Bladensburg
  • Carolyn Cook, Councilmember of Cheverly
  • Robert Croslin, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • James Crudup, Mayor of Eagle Harbor
  • Robert Day, Councilmember of College Park
  • Monroe Dennis, Councilmember of College Park
  • Katrina R Dodro, Councilmember of New Carrollton
  • Doretha Epps, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Andy Fellows, Mayor of College Park
  • Walter Ficklin, Councilmember of Bladensburg
  • Tracy Farrish Gant, Vice Mayor of Edmonston
  • Jacqueline Goodall, Mayor of Forest Heights
  • Patricia Gross, Commissioner-At-Large of Cottage City
  • Edouard Haba, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • Michael Hale, Mayor of Colmar Manor
  • Johnie Higgs, Councilmember-At-Large of Seat Pleasant
  • Candace Hollingsworth, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • Vivian Jackson, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Kito James, Mayor of Capitol Heights
  • Walter James, Mayor of Bladensburg
  • Eugene Kennedy, Councilmember of Seat Pleasant
  • Sophia E. Layne-Bee, Councilmember of Edmonston
  • David Lingua, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • Denise Mitchell, Councilmember of College Park
  • Craig A. Moe, Mayor of Laurel
  • Kelly Porter, Council President of Seat Pleasant
  • Jeannette M. Ripley, Vice Mayor of Landover Hills
  • Raymond Rivas, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • G. Frederick Robinson, Mayor of Bowie
  • Heidi Sorensen, Councilmember of University Park
  • Alejandro Silva, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • Elenora Simms, Councilmember of Seat Pleasant
  • Frederick Smalls, Council President of Laurel
  • Dennis Smith, Mayor of Glenarden
  • Steve Sonnett, Mayor of Upper Marlboro
  • Gary Styles, Commissioner of Cottage City
  • John Rogard Tabori, Mayor of University Park
  • Marc Tartaro, Mayor of Hyattsville
  • Todd Turner, Councilmember of Bowie
  • Lee Walker, Mayor of Landover Hills