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Archive for the ‘Tax and Spend’ Category

Maryland To Pay ‘House of Cards’ Show $11.5 Million This Year

Monday, April 28th, 2014

House of Cards #HoCoPolitics First let me start by saying that I love the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.” News broke on Friday that the O’Malley administration had reached an agreement with Media Rights Capital, the producers of the popular show.

The O’Malley administration said the following in a press release “Spoiler alert: we’re going to keep the 3700 jobs and more than 100 million dollars of economic activity and investment that House of Cards generates right here in Maryland.”

I can’t help but wonder is it worth it? I can’t imagine that there are perpetually 3700 jobs that are created by this show. That figure must count every single employee at every catering shop in town, even if they only delivered one meal to the set. There are certainly hundreds of workers, some of which are from other states, that work as actors, producers, technicians, and extras. But to claim that “HoC” is going to keep 3700 jobs seems like an O’Malley’s fantasy.

I will certainly agree that having a major film production here in Maryland has some benefit in terms of workers trained and hired locally. Not all of the workers come from out of town, and having those jobs available locally allows our residents a chance to enhance their production careers.

This agreement will send $11.5 Million dollars to the network in 2014. According to Yahoo, this is on top of the $11 Million that the series received for season 1, and up to $15 Million that was allocated for season 2. The show has definitely helped the network as House of Cards is reportedly part of the reason why Netflix gained 4.1 Million new subscribers in the first quarter of this year. The company passed $1 Billion quarterly income for the first time in Q1 as well.

Outlook: Maryland General Assembly’s 90 Day 2014 Session

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

The Maryland General Assembly reports to work today to start off a 90 day legislative session for 2014. Democratic leaders are hoping to raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, and spend more money on school construction and other projects. Republican leaders are hoping to cut taxes, including the highly controversial “Rain Tax”, and will also take major issue with Maryland’s fumbled Healthcare Exchange and website. Below are some expanded highlights of what we can expect in the upcoming session.

Minimum Wage
Currently the minimum wage in Maryland is $7.25. There have been some proposals to raise it over $10 per hour. Gov. Martin O’Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller have all stated that they would like to make this a priority for this year. Despite Republican opposition this will be likely to pass, the question is will it effect the whole state, and how much will it go up.

Rain Tax
There are possible changes to the “Rain Tax” storm water management fees in this session. Republicans plan to bring this issue to light given angry backlash from in some parts of Maryland. Republicans will likely call for a full repeal. Most likely there will only be small tweaks to the law, and they will likely only help non-profits. Will the citizens in the most effected counties make this a big issue for the Democrats?

There is already a sort of moratorium on “fracking” in Maryland, which is the process of using hydraulics to fracture the ground deep below the surface to mine for natural gas. Governor O’Malley already has ordered an environmental study of the relatively new technique. Pennsylvania and other nearby states are already working hard on fracking, but environmental groups are expected to try to get legislation passed barring fracking in this state.

Legalizing Pot
Senate President Miller is likely to support marijuana legislation to keep up with Colorado and Washington’s new legalization. Hopefully they will follow House Speaker Busch’s suggestion to wait and see how the new laws effect Colorado and Washington.

Early Education
From the campaign trail, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown has been pushing for pre-Kindergarten in Maryland. You can expect to see some legislation toward creating a pre-K program that may be voluntary and would be half day.

Other Issues
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Assembly may also debate increased school new construction and building a new jail in Baltimore to replace the current scandal plague detention center.

“We Have To Pass The Law To See What’s In The Law” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Remember when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said we had to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it? Well she should ask the now over 5 Million newly uninsured what’s in it. This law is a disaster and will only get worse.

Government is just not effective or efficient enough to manage a massive takeover of the healthcare system. We could have changed some of the rules (like being on your parents insurance until your 26, and requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions, etc.) without this government takeover. It is just a shame, and people are finally seeing what we have been talking about for the last 3 years.

They had 3 years to set up a website for the Affordable Care Act, and they couldn’t even get that right.

Regret Your Obama Vote? Get the Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Did you experience voter regret after voting Obama/Biden into office? Well you can’t take back your vote, but you can at least remove the embarassment of having the Obama/Biden bumper sticker on your car. Watch this ad, and order your Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit.

I know this video has been around for a little while, but 2.6 Million views later, it is still funny.

Several Maryland Taxes Go Up Today

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Today marks the first of several Gas Tax increases, each 1 % or about 3.5 cents per year. The tax increase starts today, with additional increases on 1/1/2015 and 7/1/2015. The current gasoline tax in Maryland is 23.5 cents, and supporters of the tax claim that the tax hasn’t been raised since 1992 and that the highways and bridges are crumbling. Additionally Brian Witte of the Cumberland Times is reporting that if “Federal legislation allowing the states to collect a sales tax on Internet sales does not pass, the sales tax is scheduled to rise another 1% in January 2016.

Tolls on Maryland bridges and tunnels are also set to increase today. Some of the toll increases are 50% increases over the current tolls. The Chesapeake Bay bridge is increasing for 2-axle vehicles from $4 to $6, and tolls on Routes 95 and 40 will increase from $6 to $8.

In other tax-increase news, 10 of the most populous counties in Maryland are required to have raised taxes to clean up the Chesapeake Bay today. Carroll County voted to not collect a new tax but will instead shoulder the burden by using existing revenue. Frederick County raised their taxes by 1 cent, while Anne Arundel County voted to tax most residents $85, while some residents may see a bill as high as $170. Howard County is debating lowering the tax increases that they already passed, but currently many single family homeowners will pay between $90-150.

2016 Elections

Primary - 4/5/2016
General - 11/8/2016

Races to Watch

U.S. Senate

Barbara Mikulski (D) is retiring.

Top (D) Candidates
Donna Edwards
Chris Van Hollen

All 8 House Seats are up for election.

Current Representatives
1st - Andy Harris (R)

2nd - Dutch Reppersberger (D)

3rd - John Sarbanes (D)
Top candidates Dr. Mark Plaster (R).

4th - Donna Edwards (D) - running for Senate
Top candidates Anthony Brown (D), Glenn Ivey (D), George McDermott (?)

5th - Steny Hoyer (D)

6th - John Delaney (D) - may run for Senate
Top (R) candidates David Vogt (R), Kathy Afzali (R), Neil Parrott (R), Mike McKay (R).

7th - Elijah Cummings (D) - may run for Senate
Top candidates Calvin Ball (D), Corrogan Vaughn (R).

8th - Chris Van Hollen (D) - running for Senate
Top (D) candidates Kumar Barve, Valerie Ervin, Kathleen Mattews, Jamie Raskin
Top (R) candidates Frank Howard - potential