Special session: Another Prince George’s hospital deal falls through; Three-year $125M plan is not sustainable, O’Malley administration says.
Gazette, 5 Nov 2007 (Tallman)
The O’Malley administration has rejected the latest proposal to buttress the finances of the troubled Prince George’s Hospital Center, although Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown says nothing was declined.Lawmakers Suggest a Bailout Alternative; County Delegation Hopes to Use Its Clout to Encourage State to Make a Better Deal.
Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the county’s delegation has asked her colleagues to keep mum about their feelings on tax proposals during the special legislative session until a rescue plan is worked out.
‘‘Most of what we do with the special session depends on what we do with our hospital,” said Del. Barbara A. Frush (D-Dist. 21) of Beltsville. House whips will be asking delegates’ positions on bills as the session moves forward.
‘‘I would much appreciate it if you would be noncommittal,” she said.
Frush said Brown (D) was presented a plan that would pump $125 million over three years into the hospital system, which includes five sites managed by the Dimensions Healthcare Inc. Under the plan, Prince George’s County would have provided $50 million and the state $75 million, Frush said.
The O’Malley administration rejected the plan because it did not have long-term sustainability, she said.
But Brown said he and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) were waiting for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and the Prince George’s County Council to agree on a plan.
‘‘But the county executive and the County Council have not been in agreement of what that long-term solution will be,” Brown said in a Monday evening interview in his State House office.
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Frush said county lawmakers are unclear of where the next move starts. Do they go back to O’Malley’s plan? Do they use a bill[HB 38] from Del. Doyle L. Niemann (D-Dist. 47) of Mount Rainier, which would create an independent authority to take over the hospital?
Frush made the announcement on Monday at a delegation meeting, where Johnson’s chief of staff, Mike Herman, was quizzed about an appraisal of the hospital site. The value of the land had been a sticking point during negotiations earlier in the year.
‘‘I am aware of a document that exists,” Herman told the delegates.
After the meeting, however, Herman said the appraisal was ‘‘irrelevant” to either the proposal presented to Brown on Friday or Niemann’s bill.
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Post, 6 Nov 2007 (Wiggins & Helderman).
The Prince George's County legislative delegation revealed details yesterday about a $125 million bailout proposal for the county's hospital system that it wants Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to support during the current special session.O'Malley hints at tuition freeze.
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"I hope as a delegation we will stick together until this problem is solved," said Barbara A. Frush (D), chairman of the county's House delegation. "This is the point in time where we as a delegation will be able to use our clout."
Frush asked the 22 members of the House delegation to say they are "noncommittal" on the governor's tax plan as negotiations move forward.
She said yesterday that the proposal was the product of several meetings among members of the county House and Senate delegations, County Council members and a representative from the county executive's office.
Frush said she mentioned the plan Friday to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), who has been the governor's point person on the issue. Brown said yesterday that the governor is "willing to continue discussions with the county about long-term solutions."
Diamondback, 6 Nov 2007 (Cohen).
* * *Currie: Slots will pass.
Members of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, who are dealing with potential cuts during the special session, are working to avoid any cuts to higher education, said Del. James Proctor (D-Calvert and Prince George's), vice-chair of Appropriations.
"That's what a lot of this is for," Proctor said, "no increases in tuition."
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The General Assembly has made more progress on the tax increase side of the governor's proposals. The Senate is to vote later this week on most of the plan, including a sales tax increase of 1 percent, a $1 cigarette tax increase and an increase in fees on to register new cars. Senators will make some changes to O'Malley's original proposal on Tuesday, said Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-Prince George's and Anne Arundel), though he would not specify what the amendments will be.
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Baltimore Examiner, 6 Nov 2007 (Lazarick).
Several senators raised problems they had with Gov. Martin O’Malley’s slot machine proposal during a Budget and Taxation Committee work session Monday. But its chairman, Sen. Ulysses Currie, predicted that once changes are made in the plan, “I think the votes are probably there to pass this.”Miller gives slots a boost; Senate president says he won't block proposal for referendum.
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Sun, 6 Nov 2007 (Green).
* * *Expanded sales tax bill may have short lifespan.
Senate leaders said they expect the framework of O'Malley's bill to clear the Budget and Taxation Committee and make it to the full Senate by the end of the week.
"I think the votes are here probably to pass it," said the committee's chairman, Sen. Ulysses Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat.
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Frederick News-Post, 6 Nov 2007 (Cumber).
* * *Committee to vote on O’Malley tax package.
Under a proposal sponsored by Delegate Justin Ross, a Democrat from Prince George's County, tanning, tattoo and body piercing services, swimming pool and hot tub cleaning, and interior decorating and home moving services, could be taxed.
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Frederick News-Post, 6 Nov 2007 (Bernhardt).
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Committee chairman Sen. Ulysses Currie said the committee will delay the slots vote until they've made some changes. But they will vote Wednesday on the tax package and transportation funding, which includes a gas tax increase.
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But Senate leaders, including Currie, have said they will support the referendum if it is the only way slots will pass.
Budget and Taxation member Sen. Lowell Stoltzfus was particularly critical Monday of O'Malley's choice to put slots at Ocean Downs near Ocean City instead of at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County.
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Though the Budget and Taxation committee has not yet voted on the tax bills or transportation, Currie believes there are enough votes to get them out of committee tomorrow.
Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat, said the committee might take a second look at income tax brackets.
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- Del. Barbara Frush (D-21) Bio | E-Mail | 2007ss Bills |
- 301-858-3114, Fax: 301-858-3116.
- Del. Justin D. Ross (D-22) Bio | E-Mail | 2007ss Bills |
- 301-858-3652, Fax: 301-858-3699.
- Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-25) Bio | E-Mail | 2007ss Bills |
- 301-858-3127, Fax: 301-858-3733.
- Del. James E. Proctor, Jr. (D-27A) Bio | E-Mail | 2007ss Bills |
- 301-858-3083, Fax: 301-858-3459.
- Del. Doyle E. Niemann (D-47) Bio | E-Mail | 2007ss Bills |
- 301-858-3326, Fax: 301-858-3403.