Thursday, April 28, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 4-28-2011

Take a listen to our show from this week. Where we talked with State Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney, Sue Payne from Del. Pat McDonough's Office, and Greg and I talk about the 2012 Presidential Election (and why Ron Paul can't win.....)

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

More below the fold.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Red Maryland Radio this week

Red Maryland Radio will return in it's usual time slot, Thursday night at 8 PM only on the Red Maryland Network.

This week's guests include:

If time permits, we'll talk a bit about the 2012 Presidential Election.

Don't forget to join us live Thursday night at 8!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Remember Where They Come From

The Capital News Service did a nice analysis of the big Annapolis lobbying shops and the cash at their disposal to wine and dine legislators in order to influence the legislation affecting their clients.

We'd like to remind everyone that the Maryland Democratic Party is the farm team for the big Annapolis lobbying firms and down in DC as well. Remember this the next time their communications drones blather about Republicans being the stooges of special interests.

There's a reason they call Mike Miller "Big Daddy" right...

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Go Time

We have talked at significant length about the bill providing instate tuition for Illegal Aliens. Now is the time that we can actually do something about it. You've probably already heard about the effort being spearheaded by Del. Neil Parrott to petition this bill to referendum. Now, the resources to get this piece of legislation on next years ballot are in your hands.

Visit to learn more about the process and how you can help let the people decide.

Folks on our side of the aisle want to know how they can help defeat some of the crazier legislation that comes out of Annapolis. Well folks, it's go time....

More below the fold.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 4-21-2011

Take a listen to this week's episode, featuring:

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

More below the fold.

Updated Red Maryland Radio Lineup for April 21st

We've got a great show jam packed with great guests and topics for tonight's episode of

Red Maryland Radio. Tune in tonight from 8-9PM

Leading off Christian Schneider from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute will talk with us about the big win (pending a recount) of Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge David Prosser and what's next in Battle of Wisconsin.

State Senator Allan Kittleman joins us to talk about the recently adjourned Maryland General Assembly Session.

We'll talk about the life and times of Maryland political icon William Donald Schaefer with special guest former Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Andi Morony, Chief of Staff to Delegate Mike Smigiel will join us in the Red Maryland satellite studio in bucolic Centreville, MD to give us a staff's eye view of the legislative session.

More below the fold.

O'Malley Sees Tough Choices, Flees In Opposite Direction

My latest at the Washington Examiner Local Opinion Zone

As part of his national tour to burn straw man TEA Partiers and Republican governors, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D), touts the “tough choices” he’s made. Choices such as “cutting” $6 billion from the budget while simultaneously increasing spending by over $1 billion, and prostrating himself before public sector employee unions, the alpha wolves of Maryland’s Democratic oligarchy.

In fact, O’Malley’s “tough choices” are just more kicking the can down the road.

Another example of a tough choice O’Malley can’t run away from fast enough (hat tip Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner) is the issue of block granting Medicaid in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R, WI) budget plan. In a letter he signed with other Democratic Governors, O’Malley states block granting Medicaid would “leave states with an untenable choice between increasing taxes, cutting other state programs, or cutting eligibility, benefits, or provider payments.”

As Ponnuru notes, heaven forbid these governors make budgeting choices!

When it comes to responsibly handling Maryland’s Medicaid program O’Malley has avoided making any tough choices. Indeed, O’Malley’s record contradicts the letter’s claim that he has “pursued strategies to reduce Medicaid costs while still preserving the integrity of the program.”

According to a report from the Sage Policy Group O’Malley has pursued two contradictory objectives simultaneously. With one hand he has sought to constrain growth in expenditures and with the other expanded eligibility. During the 2007 special session, in which O’Malley raised taxes by $1.4 billion, he also expanded Medicaid eligibility from 40 percent of the federal poverty level to 116 percent.

Sage also noted Maryland Medicaid spending will consume over 20 percent of Maryland’s $34.1 billion operating budget for the fiscal year 2012, up from 18.6 percent since O’Malley first took office.

O’Malley and his fellow Democratic governors urge for federal plan that “creates cost savings, not cost shifting.” Yet, O’Malley’s previous two budgets have cost shifted $387 million to hospitals and insurance companies resulting in higher hospital rates and increased insurance premiums.

Furthermore, their argument that they would have to cut eligibility, benefits and provider payments is a false choice that ignores other options, which are politically untenable for their political base and special interest backers.

A 2008 report by the Maryland Public Policy Institute noted that the discussion of reform to Maryland’s Medicaid program has centered solely on expansion of the costly system, which provides sub-par care. The report identified several ways in which other states are capping Medicaid spending. More importantly, the report laid out a path to move people off Medicaid and on to private insurance through winnowing the 60 plus service mandates on health plans, which make private insurance more affordable.

However, eliminating the mandates would mean bucking Maryland’s health insurance titans, like Amerigroup—which uses those mandates to price out competitors—and risking the generous political donations it lavishes upon the Maryland’s one-party Democratic rulers. After all, the more people on private insurance means less Medicaid overpayments for Amerigroup.

Of course, O’Malley could move to implement these free market reforms and shore-up Maryland’s Medicaid program, but that would mean putting down the lighter and the gas can. Yet another tough choice this governor can’t make.

More below the fold.

Bob Ehrlich to appear on Red Maryland Radio tonight

In addition to the great guests I talked about yesterday, former Governor Bob Ehrlich will also be appearing on this week's episode of Red Maryland Radio.

Be sure to listen tonight at 8 PM for this week's episode!

More below the fold.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Red Maryland Radio this week

Red Maryland Radio will return in it's usual time slot, Thursday night at 8 PM only on the Red Maryland Network.

This week's guests include:

We will also be discussing the recent passing of William Donald Schaefer.

Don't forget to join us live Thursday night at 8!

More below the fold.

Richard E. Vatz Introduction of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich to Vatz's Persuasion Class, April 19, 2011

--Richard E. Vatz

Greetings, Persuasion class...I want to tell you that you are part of one of the longest traditions at Towson University: Governor Robert L. Ehrlich’s lecturing to and interacting with my class in Persuasion. This is now an 18 and ½ year tradition – twice-a-year -- and when it started, many of you were just learning to talk. I might say that had your parents brought you for that first encounter, you might have started talking earlier.

I first want to say, what a pleasure and honor it is to have the former Governor grace with his presence Towson University, the finest public university in Maryland, and one which, if the Chancellor pays attention to my op-ed in the Sun three weeks ago, will have another excellent president who, along with its excellent new athletic director and coaches will make Towson, again, the finest university of its kind in Maryland.

I want to send out a special welcome to those accompanying the Governor: Greg Massoni, communication consultant and Elaine Pevenstein, former special assistant and adviser to the Governor; Patrick Mulford, a personal aide/researcher for Gov. Ehrlich and Owen McEvoy who handled all of Gov. Ehrlich’s social media during the campaign.

We have some faculty and administrators and staff here...we have the excellent president of the Senate, Tim Sullivan here...some great quality.

I also want to assure the Governor that his audience today is composed of Towson’s finest students, including my advanced classes in Media Criticism and Persuasion, two classes which have distinguished themselves with excellent performances so far this term. I have always made a strong effort not to let my class know if or when you are visiting, Governor, but this year for the first time ever, I let it slip, and I heard several students say to their fellow classmates, “I already knew he was coming,” and “Vatz shouldn’t be told any military secrets.”
Last time you brought your exquisite Lieutenant Governor candidate, Mary Kane [deleted predicate, per advice of progressive bud].

I shall not dwell on the 2010 Gubernatorial election, except to point out one issue that I thought was hitting below the belt: Gov. Ehrlich had raised a few fees during his administration that were tethered to benefit those for whom the fees were raised; as the current governor said in one of their debates, Gov. Ehrlich has a "fantasy world that he never raised taxes -- even though he raised fees...”

I should mention that a little over 4 months following the recent election that The Maryland General Assembly passed millions of dollars of fees, associated with the Democratic consensus take by House Speaker Mike Busch, “I think it is a very conservative budget. It does not raise taxes.” Also there is a 50% -- 50% -- rise in alcohol taxes that will go into effect immediately (?). Ah, well, campaigns and governing often have not much to do with one another.

I shall merely say that I think that Gov. Ehrlich was the best governor we have had in the many decades I have been a Marylander.

I also want to make a point about the death of former Governor and Mayor William Donald Schaefer. You won’t hear this from the Democratic controlled press, but the person to whom Gov. Schaefer was most politically aligned in his last decade of life and politics was Gov. Ehrlich. There was a genuine affinity there, and perhaps typifying Gov. Schaefer’s relationship with then-ungrateful Maryland Democrats (but now lionizing Democrats) was his statement that he hated Gov. Paris Glendening who cruelly tried to punish Gov. Schaefer for his lack of political support by cutting off a beloved fountain of his companion, Hilda Mae Snoops under the guise of conservation.

As I mentioned, Gov. Ehrlich has been a guest every year, twice a year since, including his years as Governor. He served in Towson, he loves Towson, he donated his public congressional and gubernatorial papers to Towson, and most years Towson has returned that appreciation. He is the most regular and decent candidate for public office I have met or known. I now present you, my Persuasion and Media Criticism classes, and ask for a Towson University warm welcome for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.

Professor Vatz teaches at Towson University

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Rest in Peace, Governor Schaefer

Former Governor William Donald Schaefer has died, and Red Maryland joins with the rest of Maryland in mourning his passing.

People may not have always agreed with Governor Schaefer, certainly as our site and he were on opposite sides of the aisle. He may not have always been seen in a positive light, and he may have not exited the political scene as gracefully as some may have liked.

But you can't argue that he cared. And you will be hard pressed to find somebody who loved the city of Baltimore as much as he did.

In this era of politicians on both sides of the aisle who are programmed and try not to offend, William Donald Schaefer was somebody who was unique, and real, and who really cared.

I'm sure that he's already trying to get the potholes filled in the afterlife...

More below the fold.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What I Learned at the Maryland Business for Responsive Government Discussion on the 2011 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session

--Richard E. Vatz On Thursday afternoon, April 14, 2011, I moderated a discussion for the Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG), a nominally nonpartisan organization. The exchange related to the business issues adjudicated by the 2011 Maryland General Assembly. The MBRG through its excellent president, Kim Burns, arranged to have as participants the Honorable Michael Busch (Speaker of the Maryland House), the Honorable Nancy Jacobs (Senator) and the honorable, but not so titled, Len Lazarick, editor of

I am always impressed by politicians who participate in public discussions far from election day (Sen. Jacobs) and particularly when the discussion is held by those who are not ideologically attuned to the politician's points of view and also at a date far from their election day (Speaker Busch).

The questions posed for discussion included the following, which evolved into many additional conversations on other issues as well: 1. Is the Maryland State Budget a Responsible One? 2. Are You Impressed/Dismayed by the Pension Reforms? 3. What Are the Economic and Political Ramifications Regarding the Passage of an Immediate Increase in the Alcohol Tax from 6 to 9 Percent? 4. What Does Maryland's Passing of In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Portend Concerning the Rule of Law in Maryland? The panel discussion held no great surprises, as Speaker Busch, Sen. Jacobs and Mr. Lazarick all were quite knowledgeable regarding their positions, and Mr. Lazarick served as a disinterested -- although I have always suspected he had more conservatism in him than liberalism -- and fair and well-prepared discussant.

The discussion on the budget in general involved whether for major issues the can had been kicked down the road again by Democrats and whether the Assembly had saved the governor from himself by disallowing some of his more expensive initiatives, such as wind energy. For those of us in opposition to the alcohol tax and in-state tuition for illegals, there were no new facts brought up that would dissuade us from these positions. The alcohol tax jump was debated as to whether it was equitable and fair to have such an increase for one industry; it will not be surprising, dear reader, when you guess who took which position.

There was no bashing of Governor Martin O'Malley, and the tone and civility were as impressive as in any debate in which I have been involved. Each participant allowed the others to express themselves fully and, again, there was not a hint of personal rancor. Personally, this was an undilutedly enjoyable event: I genuinely personally like all of the participants, regardless of some of their liberal-based premises, and interacting with the impressive organization MBRG and particularly members Ellen Sauerbrey and Gov. Marvin Mandel was satisfying beyond words. At Towson I have to search the campus for a fellow conservative.

All in all, this debate was exemplary of what political debate in a democracy can be: an honest and respectful but not insipid exchange of political views on consequential topics by representatives who are prepared and honest.

Professor Vatz is a professor at Towson University

More below the fold.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 4-14-2011

This week's show, featuring Delegate Tony McConkey:

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

Click here to check out the list of conservative movies that we referenced during our final segment.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Red Maryland Radio is back Thursday Night

Your weekly installment of Red Maryland Radio is back Thursday night, streaming live online at

We will be spending a lot of time recapping the 2011 General Assembly and the damage that they collectively inflicted upon Marylanders. Doug Gill from the Baltimore Examiner will be joining us.

Greg, Mark and I will also be talking about our favorite conservative movies.

Be sure to listen at 8 PM Thursday night!

More below the fold.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Maryland Update # 18

Brian Griffiths with a commentary on the in-state tuition bill passed by the General Assembly.

More below the fold.

Would-be Presidential Assassin John W. Hinckley Seeks More Freedom– Again

--Richard E. Vatz

About two weeks ago there was ample coverage bespeaking what a one-time bud of mine, the excellent journalist Bill Salganik, at The Baltimore Sun used to call “anniversary journalism:” the publicizing of significant events that that had no new salience, but just happened to have occurred on dates 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years (more so those ending in “0”) earlier.

The event of a fortnight ago was the coverage of the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt against President Reagan and the other very permanently consequential shootings by John Hinckley. Much of the coverage, including a special piece by USA Today newspaper, overly credited subsequent changes in insanity pleas in the United States with lessened abuse of the plea. It also underestimated the brazen efforts to provide freedom to Mr. Hinckley.

Hinckley’s initial successful plea of insanity was due in large part to the Washington D.C. federal court’s granting a presumption of truth at the time to the defense, if the judge allowed it to be raised. There has been indeed a salutary change in that the presumption to be overcome now in those courts is that the defendant is sane.

As for Mr. Hinckley’s latest bag of tricks per his family, “doctors” and lawyers, as described by The Washington Post, “Lawyers and doctors for John W. Hinckley Jr. asked a federal judge Tuesday to grant the presidential assailant additional unsupervised visits to his mother’s home in Virginia. Hinckley, 55, has been held at St. Elizabeths Hospital since being found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Ronald Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy outside a Washington hotel in 1981.” However, according to the Associated Press, again from the Post, “ a court filing Monday [April 11], lawyers for the government said Hinckley offered no basis to grant him an unspecified number of new visits beyond the 12 he was granted in 2009 and has now used up.

Hinckley’s years in St. Elizabeths Hospital have been marked by consistent efforts to secure his freedom, despite continuing evidence over the years of his dangerousness, often hidden by his sympathizers. His is just a highly publicized example of the use of the insanity plea to exculpate horrible felons whose malefactions have a permanently debilitating consequence for their victims and society. Ask Jim Brady how sorry he feels for John Hinckley. Ask Nancy Reagan.

Most of the invalidities of the insanity plea (also called by different names, including a related “not criminally responsible” plea in some states) remain. There is no evidence that there has been an abatement of psychiatric intrusions into the sentencing phase or other components of the criminal justice system. The lessening or eliminating of criminal punishment is the consistent goal of these mental health rhetorical guns-for-hire.

Psychiatrists, forensic and otherwise, have throughout Hinckley’s stay at St. Elizabeths Hospital consistently argued for ameliorating his punishment, despite consistent evidence of his dangerousness and lack of contrition. When a psychiatrist testified some time ago that Mr. Hinckley was quite able to hide his aggressive tendencies, this was ignored.

Vicious killers and would-be killers have a reliable friend in forensic psychiatry. Such “experts” on insanity (not a psychiatric term) are always eager to provide testimony on the accused’s behalf.

There is no compelling argument supporting further freedom for Hinckley, but there was no compelling reason for allowing him increased unsupervised (!) visits previously.

It is sad that with the insanity plea life-long vigilance is required to protect the safety of the public as well as the quality of life of victims and their relatives.

Professor Vatz is author of over one hundred articles and reviews on the rhetoric of mental illness and is Associate Psychology Editor of USA Today Magazine and an editor of Current Psychology

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Classic Red Maryland Radio

Can't get enough Red Maryland Radio? Listen to how it all began with this podcast of the very first installment of RMR on June 24, 2008. The show opens with an introduction by our good friend Warren Monks of WAMD and his special "10 Minutes with Reagan" feature. Then Brian Griffiths and Greg Kline discuss the brewing scandals of the summer of 2008. How precient (or way off) were we? Listen in to find out. Red Maryland contributor Mark Newgent joins Greg and Brian for a roundtable discussion of the 2008 campaign. Classic goodness, just for you.

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Oligarchy Rules

The final day of the Maryland General Assembly’s legislative session is called sine die, which is Latin for “without day.” After the 2011 session, which ended last night, we may have to find the Latin translation for “without shame.”

After a campaign season in which they painted themselves as fiscally conservative, Governor Martin O’Malley and the Democratic majority found new and ingenious ways to kick the can of fiscal responsibility down the road. In the face of chronic structural deficits and $35 billion in pension and retiree healthcare benefits O’Malley and the Democrats punted. The budget for fiscal year 2012 spends nearly 2 billion more than it does for the current year, general fund spending increases by $1.5 billion to make up for lost federal stimulus money and $925 million in new debt to a bloated capital budget.

Despite O’Malley’s modest pension reform plan, the budget allows him to transfer $120 million of the savings to the general fund and won’t shore up the system.

Because O’Malley and the Democrats cannot control themselves, Marylanders face a
56 percent property tax increase.

It was not long ago Governor O’Malley said he would not submit a budget without a tax increase. That promise was broken the day he submitted his budget. Just after the election Senate President Mike Miller said Marylanders were “not looking for any tax increases,” rather for “less government.” Speaker of the House of Delegates, Mike Busch said there was “no appetite” for taxes. Yet, here we are with a 50 percent increase in the sales tax on alcohol, and $67 million in new fees, which Democrats suddenly no longer consider taxes.

The bait and switch on alcohol tax was a particularly shameful affair as advocates of the tax paraded the mentally disabled and increased funding for their care as the ostensible reason for the tax. However, once the sham of their “dime a drink” tax was exposed they moved to raise the sales tax. Only a small portion of the projected revenue from the increase is slated to go to the mentally disabled, the bulk of it will go to school construction and the general fund to backfill teacher salaries in Democratic strongholds of Prince George’s County and Baltimore City.

I guess we missed the fine print in Democratic campaign literature that stated their promises came with a November 3, 2010 expiration date. The legislature will convene a special session this fall to complete a congressional redistricting plan. And if, what Maryland Senate Republicans are saying is true, the new budget will be in the red by October, expect a new tax increases.

Now some may say this is mere Republican fear mongering. However, Maryland Reporter Senior Editor, Len Lazarick told Red Maryland Radio that Democratic Delegate Derek Davis chair of the House Economic Matters Committee admitted revenues might be looked at in the special session.

If taxpayers watching this session felt like they were staring through the looking glass, then they are going to feel like they’re tumbling down the rabbit hole come the fall.

It’s O’Malley’s wonderland and we just pay taxes to live in it.

More below the fold.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Maryland Update # 17

Greg Kline with a commentary on what we know about the 2011 General Assembly session.

More below the fold.

BREAKING: Illegal Immigration Bill going to Conference

The State Senate has voted NOT to pass the House version of the bill granting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. The bill is going to Conference Committee right now.

THIS would be a very good time to spread the word and call your Delegates and Senators to remind them of the importance of defeating this bill and the importance of making sure that only legal residents of Maryland get in-state tuition at these schools.

More below the fold.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bay Bridge Safety Legislation in Trouble

Senator EJ Pipkin has sponsored a bill SB458, which would codify best practices for the Maryland Department of Transportation to adopt for its safety inspections of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The bill passed the Senate 47-0. However, Delegate James Malone, vice chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee is holding up the bill in that committee.

Time is of the essence, the end of the legislative session “sine die” is midnight Tuesday morning.

Please call Malone’s office (410) 841-3378 or and let him know you want this bill brought to the full House for a vote.

More below the fold.

When Twits Tweet

Last night, as a potential federal government shut down loomed, Governor O'Malley, as part of his new gig as head of the Democratic Governor's Association, took to Twitter and set about igniting his favorite straw men--conservatives--or as he likes to call us the "aberrant strain."

In a tone only Nurse Ratched or Mika Brzezinski could top, O'Malley flamed Republicans for allowing their "hate" of government to hurt families.

Of course, O'Malley's calculations don't include the countless families hurt by O'Malley's billions of dollars in tax and fee increases. Oops sorry, I forgot the election is over, fees aren't taxes anymore.

But just for grins and giggles, here's the hellfire and brimstone Pastor O'Malley feared would have consumed us.

More below the fold.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Red Maryland Update # 16

Brian Griffiths with a commentary on the failure of state leaders to plan for a government shutdown.

More below the fold.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In case you missed it: RedMaryland Radio 4-7-2011

The lineup: Delegate Steve Hershey, Republican District 36, Queen Anne’s County gives us a freshman delegate’s perspective on the legislative session. Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter, dean of the Annapolis press corps talks with us about what we've seen and where we're headed as the 2011 legislative session approaches sine die Greg, Mark and Brian talk the best shows on television.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio
Give us your feedback at

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Higher Taxes & Tolls - A Hobson’s Choice?

Guest Post from Delegate Mark Fisher

There has been much debate in Annapolis this Session concerning tax hikes on gasoline, fees & tolls. New and ever increasing levies are all too often the Hobson’s choice offered to the citizens of Maryland. While House Bills concerning a new gasoline tax are bottled-up in the Ways & Means Committee, a recent article in the Baltimore Sun spoke of massive increases in tolls from the Maryland Transportation Authority (“MTA”).

The MTA intends to increase tolls so as to collect a minimum of $70 million from Maryland-tolled bridges, roadways and hot lanes. The justification for raising tolls is based on the idea that repairs are necessary and bond debt payments are increasing. The latter is more likely the reason for massive toll increases, as new debt is quickly accruing from the construction of the Intercounty Connector (“ICC”).

The folks who control Annapolis have framed the argument as follows: Either raise taxes on gasoline by 10 cents per gallon – OR - raise tolls. This “either - or” approach is disingenuous, particularly as working families continue to struggle through this Great Recession. It presumes that increasing energy costs on consumers or raising tolls are the only solutions available to Maryland’s growing transportation needs.

This is folly.

There is a third solution. Several weeks ago, I introduced House Bill 1176, a Bill that authorizes a study for the privatization of the Intercounty Connector. Yes, you read that sentence correctly --- let’s sell-off the ICC to a private operator! While we’re at it, let’s sell-off Maryland’s Rest-Stops as well! Don’t laugh yet, as this is a proven concept. In 2009, Connecticut entered into a public-private partnership for the State’s 23 rest stops. The windfall to that State was a whopping $178 million dollars! To date, 20 States have entered into some form of public-private agreement, resulting in billions of dollars in savings to taxpayers.

Make no mistake about House Bill 1176. Privatizing public assets such as tolled roadways and rest-stops is a solution, if and only if, there is a Constitutional Amendment that prohibits further raiding of the Transportation Trust Fund. Otherwise, monies raised from the privatization(s) will be raided and spent for items that are not related to Maryland’s transportation needs. Admittedly, these initiatives must be passed together to work effectively.

It’s time to bring Fiscal Responsibility to Annapolis. Let’s begin anew by lock-boxing taxes, fees and tolls for their intended purpose(s). Anything short of this effort, will lead to the further squandering of our children’s future --- when a Hobson’s choice will be a reality.

Mark N. Fisher, Member
Maryland House of Delegates
Calvert County, District 27B
Ways & Means Committee

More below the fold.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Red Maryland Radio 4-7-11

Red Maryland Radio is back Thursday night, April 7 from 8-9pm on Blog Talk Radio

The lineup:

Delegate Steve Hershey, Republican District 36, Queen Anne’s County will give us a freshman delegate’s perspective on the legislative session.

Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter, dean of the Annapolis press corps will talk with us about what we've seen and where we're headed as the 2011 legislative session approaches sine die

Greg and Mark talk the best shows on television

Tune in by logging on to

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Update # 15

Brian Griffiths with a commentary on the lessons to be learned from the state's failed Rocky Gap Resort.

More below the fold.

Maryland on the Dole

More than 100 Maryland government entities, labor unions and private organizations have applied for funds from a $5 billion federal bailout program hidden in the federal health care reform legislation. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, administered by the Center for Consumer Information and Oversight, has approved funding for 45 labor unions, 43 government bodies, and 22 corporations and private non-profit organizations.

ERRP subsidizes the retirement plans for unions, corporations, private non-profits, and state and local governments. According to a Department of Health and Human Services report, ERRP, “assists both early retirees, and any active workers covered under the same plan, by reimbursing participating plan sponsors that offer such benefits for a portion of the costs of providing health coverage to retirees age 55 to 64 and their families.”

Former Maryland Public Service Commissioner Steve Larsen, an appointee of Governor Martin O’Malley is the director of CCIO.

The DHHS report shows that ERRP has disbursed over $9.1 million to Maryland. Yet the report does not reflect all the disbursements to approved Maryland applicants.

Federal bailout dollars from the stimulus inflated state failed to achieve their ostensible goal—stabilizing state and county governments. In fact they only inflated budget base lines and their deficits ballooned. ERRP accomplishes the same thing. Maryland and its counties, struggling to close their deficits, did themselves no favors by taking this bailout cash.

No matter the final tally though, one thing is for sure, Maryland is on the dole.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Red Maryland Update # 14

Greg Kline with a commentary on the irony of the problems facing the Baltimore City Housing Authority.

More below the fold.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Maryland Update # 13

Greg Kline with a commentary on the opposition to giving Maryland farmers a break.

More below the fold.

Former O'Malley PSC chair Larsen running Obamacare bailout program

Governor Martin O’Malley’s hand picked former Public Service Commission chairman, Steve Larsen, is overseeing a multibillion Obamacare bailout for the states, labor unions, and private corporations.

According to the Examiner’s Byron York, House Energy and Commerce Committee investigators recently discovered an obscure provision, Section 1102, of the Affordable Care Act, which appropriated $5 billion for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. ERRP subsidizes states, unions, and businesses to provide insurance for early retirees before they become eligible for Medicare. The program began disbursing funds in June of 2010 and is scheduled to sunset in 2014.

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, headed by Larsen, administers ERRP.

York cites a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, which shows ERRP blowing through the appropriated funds at a rate that will deplete the $5 billion in 2012, two years before it is scheduled to end and Obamacare’s health care exchanges come on line.

Questioned by House Republicans about CCIIO burning through so much cash Larsen said, "It’s a reflection of the success of the program."

Maryland’s government, counties, municipalities, and corporations received 9.1 million in ERRP funds. The state took in $2.7 million, and Baltimore County received $1.7 million.

Larsen’s record is sketchy at best. During his tenure as CEO of Amerigroup Maryland, the health care provider bilked taxpayers for over $74 million in Medicaid overpayments.

In 2007, Governor O’Malley tapped Larsen—with much fanfare— as one of his “competent, qualified, professional regulators” to chair the Maryland Public Service Commission, and make good on his campaign promise to roll back a 72 percent Baltimore Gas & Electric electricity rate increases. However, it was Larsen’s PSC that in fact rubber stamped the very same increase, and has presided over an 85 percent increase in BG&E customer bills.

More below the fold.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pot, Kettle, Environmentalist

Recently I commented on a Center Maryland piece on the origins and culprits of the fiscal mess in Queen Anne’s County by my fellow county resident Clayton A. Mitchell,

Now, Center Maryland has published a response by Jay Falstad, Executive Director of the Queen Anne’s County Conservation Association (QACA).

Falstad—a nominal Republican—jabs Mitchell a Democrat for invoking William F. Buckley Jr. by invoking Patrick Moynihan’s famous dictum that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Falstad should heed his own advice.

Falstad claims that the traffic from the proposed Four Seasons development on Kent Island would outweigh any economic benefits. Yet the only “facts” Falstad cites in his keen economic analysis are the number of potential cars that may be added to the traffic on Route 50/301. Given that Queen Anne’s County is facing a budget deficit between $18-21 million, it’s hard to argue that traffic concerns outweigh the benefits of jobs, money injected into the local economy, and the expanded tax base the project would bring.

To paraphrase the aforementioned Buckley, I won’t insult Falstad’s intelligence by suggesting he really believes what he wrote.

As for the FASTC project, again I was not as sanguine on the economic prospects as Mitchell, but Falstad mangles the truth about the facility. Going by Falstad’s absurd logic, picnickers at Tuckahoe State Park would need to don hurt locker suits.

Falstad’s ally, the execrable Sveinn Storm, uses similar hyperbole to demonize any growth in the county as tantamount to turning the Route 50 corridor into the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex.

But alas that type of deception is the modis operandi of Falstad and the environmentalists. They say they are for “smart growth” which merely a euphemism for no growth, because they in fact oppose all attempts to grow the county.

Witness the signature measure of their puppet commissioners, county ordinance 08-25, which would have restricted the transfer development rights of farmers, rendering the value of their land—which they use to obtain credit to finance their operations—worthless. Naturally, QACA offered a report full of cooked statistics to support their case for 08-25.

Falstad accuses Mitchell for being a mouthpiece for “developer interests.” However, that begs the question for what special interests is Falstad playing useful idiot?

How about Allan Griffith, the former executive vice president of the Bank of New York and head of BONY’s international banking sector. Griffith lives on a million dollar waterfront estate in Centreville. Griffith was named in a federal lawsuit involving bank executives and Russian mobsters laundering billions of dollars through BONY accounts.

Griffith is a board member of Falstad’s employer QACA, and a generous donor to the web of political action committees that fund the anti-growth movement, including the Republican Environmental Alliance PAC Falstad used to chair. Falstad had to resign his chairmanship of the PAC because he violated state ethics laws by making illegal transfers while being a registered lobbyist.

And, interestingly enough, Griffith also happens to own Falstad’s mortgage.

Then there is former Freddie Mac fraudster Leland Brendsel, a prolific donor to Falstad’s PAC, QACA’s PAC, and anti-property rights candidates. In 2005, Brendsel who, leased his home at the historic Wye Hall property in Queenstown from the state, came under state scrutiny for violations of the terms of the lease by performing illegal landscaping and paving to the ecologically sensitive property.

Note the irony of Falstad the statist, who would restrict what property owners can do with their own land, taking money from a man who feels entitled to do whatever he pleases with land that he does not own.

Lastly, QACA has received nearly $150,000 in grants over the last four years from the Easton based Town Creek Foundation. Town Creek is the same radical environmental donor group, which provided funding to the Center for Climate Strategies, the global warming alarmist outfit to which Governor O’Malley outsourced state climate policy. Town Creek paid CCS to recommend a menu of tax increases, burdensome regulations, and economy killing land use restrictions.

Falstad’s screed would be laughable if it weren’t such a cynical ploy to hide the fact that he’s as much a tool for well-funded special interests as he accuses Mitchell.

More below the fold.