Category Archives: Rich Madaleno

Miller Causes a Huge Headache for Maryland Democrats

By Adam Pagnucco.

Democrats all over the country have lately been demanding that Confederate statues and other monuments celebrating slavery be taken down.  That extends to Maryland, where Baltimore Mayor Cathy Pugh had four Confederate monuments removed in the middle of the night.  But when Maryland Democrats demanded that an Annapolis statue of former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney also be removed, they ran into opposition from arguably the state’s most powerful Democratic politician: Senate President Mike Miller.

Democrats’ objections to Taney are rooted in his authoring of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which held that descendants of Africans imported as slaves into the U.S. could not be American citizens.  In 2015, Governor Larry Hogan defended the Taney statue in Annapolis in the Washington Post.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) says he is opposed to a change in the state song and likened the effort to calls for removing the statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision, from the grounds of the State House.

“It’s political correctness run amok,” Hogan said in an interview last week. “Where do we stop? Do we get rid of the George Washington statues out here and take down all the pictures from all the people from the Colonial era that were slave owners? Do we change the name of Washington County, Carroll County and Calvert County?

“You can’t change history, and we’re not going to be able to rewrite history,” Hogan said. “And I don’t think we ought to be changing any of that.”

After Democrats including House Speaker Mike Busch pushed back this week, Hogan changed his mind and agreed to remove the statue.  The Governor was one of three members of the four-member board with jurisdiction over the statue to vote for removal.  But one member of the board objected to the process of deciding the issue by email: Senate President Mike Miller.  In his letter, Miller argued that Taney opposed slavery and “freed his slaves early in his life,” joined an “anti-kidnapping society” to protect free blacks and remained loyal to the Union until his death.  Miller also cited support for the statue from former Baltimore City Delegate Pete Rawlings and a descendant of Dred Scott.  We reprint the letter below.

Whatever one thinks of Miller’s opinion, it’s a big headache for Maryland Democrats.  Much of their strategy to oppose Governor Hogan has been to criticize him for silence in the face of actions by President Donald Trump.  That strategy has affected the behavior of the Governor, who just said that Trump “made a terrible mistake” in his comments on the white supremacist invasion of Charlottesville.  But what of Miller?  If his comments on the Taney statue had come from Hogan, Maryland Democrats would be swarming all over him.  What happens when such sentiments come from one of the most powerful Democrats in the state?

One Democrat who did not blanch from criticizing the Senate President was Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18), who is running for Governor.  Madaleno wrote on Facebook that Miller “is wrong.”

The rest of the Democrats now have a choice.  They can be intellectually honest and take on one of the leaders of their party.  Or they can ignore Miller and look like hypocrites.

As with Hogan on Trump, silence is not an option.

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Madaleno Releases Video Pointing Out Hogan and Trump Made Same Points on Statues

This morning, Richard Madaleno’s gubernatorial released a video demonstrating how Trump’s words on Tuesday defending white supremacists in Charlottesville parallel closely similar statements made previously by Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. Madaleno has been Hogan’s strongest critic in the General Assembly, and his campaign now reveals the same willingness to go after the Governor.

On Tuesday, Trump stated:

So this week, it is Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop.

Defending the statue of Justice Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, on Lawyers Mall in the heart of the State Capitol complex, Hogan said similarly:

What you say let’s take down the Taney statue. We have Thurgood Marshall on this side and Taney on that side. They’re both part of our history. We just opened a couple days ago the Old Senate Chamber. Where George Washington resigned his commission. George Washington was a slave owner. Should we remove him from the State House?

In other words, Hogan showed himself able even earlier than Trump to make facile, benighted comparisons between the father of our country and other more contemptible figures because both are “part of history.” Should we put up statues of traitorous Benedict Arnold? What about corrupt Spiro Agnew? They too are a “part of history.”

As Eugene Robinson explained well, despite their imperfections, founders like Washington and Jefferson  “laid out a set of principles, later codified in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, that transcended their flaws.” In contrast, the centerpiece of Taney’s work was a decision widely considered the worst in American history for its denial of the basic humanity of black Americans and declaring that they remained property even if they escaped bondage and found refuge in free territory.

It’s sad that Hogan could not see the difference until this week.

[Note: I am a supporter of Madaleno’s campaign.]

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Delaney Dominoes

By Adam Pagnucco.

From the perspective of political blogging (which we all know matters most!), Congressman John Delaney is the greatest Maryland politician of all time.  That’s not because of anything he has done in Congress.  (No one does anything in Congress these days!)  It’s because his decision-making has affected the races for Governor, Congress District 6, County Executive, County Council and several State Senate and House of Delegates seats.  This is an enormous bonanza for political junkies and will keep us VERY busy.  We love you, John Delaney!

Here’s a quick and dirty take on how the Delaney Dominoes are falling.

Governor

None of the Democratic candidates for Governor fit Delaney’s ideological center-left positioning.  Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who can claim that his jurisdiction has not increased either property or income taxes in twenty-five years, might come closest.  But the biggest impact of Delaney’s absence may be geographic.  With the Congressman out and former Attorney General Doug Gansler not showing signs of serious activity, Senator Rich Madaleno might be the only MoCo candidate in the race.  That’s a big deal.  If Madaleno consolidates MoCo while three African American candidates run hard in the City and Prince George’s, this race becomes very unpredictable.  (Disclosure: your author has done work for Madaleno.)

Congress District 6

Total Wine co-owner David Trone has been interviewing elected officials, activists, operatives and other local players for months as he figures out his options.  Our hunch is that he will see Delaney’s congressional district as his best play and run there.  He will join Delegates Bill Frick and Aruna Miller, Senator Roger Manno and former Democratic nominee Andrew Duck on the Democratic side.  The Republicans should have a vigorous primary too as they have a real shot at the open seat.

County Executive

If Trone runs for Congress, that will leave three term-limited Council Members – Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal – as the only Democrats running for Executive at this moment.  But given the fact that most Democrats voted for term limits and anti-tax sentiment continues to linger, it’s hard to believe that a non-Council Member will not get in.  Trone’s absence creates a void that could very well get filled.

County Council

County Council candidates will all sigh in relief if Trone runs for Congress.  That’s because there have been rumors of a Trone Slate for months in which Trone would deposit his own money in a slate account to be drawn on by allied council candidates.  With that possibility off the table, the at-large candidates are on their own.   Since most are in public financing, it’s unlikely that very many of them will accumulate large financial advantages of 3-to-1 to 4-to-1 over their nearest rivals.  That makes for very competitive races in District 1 and at-large.

State Legislative Districts

If Miller, Frick and Manno stay in the race for Congress until the end, that means there will be open seats in Districts 15, 16 and 19.  In District 15, the recent custom has been for the incumbents to pick a new candidate to fill out their slate.  (That is a big reason why Miller originally won her seat in 2010.)  The question is whether any new candidate merits such a selection.  A District 16 open seat race is like an Italian Sunday dinner: everyone shows up.  An open seat in 2010 attracted thirteen candidates and an open seat in 2014 attracted eight candidates.  There will be no rest for Delegates Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman!  Manno’s Senate seat will draw the interest of at least one Delegate, thereby creating at least one House opening.  There are already three non-incumbents who have filed for the District 19 House seats with more probably on the way.

Add the above to actual or possible races in Council District 3, Legislative District 17 (House and maybe Senate), Legislative District 18 (House and Senate), Legislative District 20 (maybe House) and Legislative District 39 (House) and that makes 2018 the most politically active year in MoCo in decades.  Enjoy folks, and remember to thank John Delaney the next time you see him!

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MoCo’s Giant Tax Hike, Part Three

By Adam Pagnucco.

The need to fund MCPS was one reason given by county officials for their recent hike in property taxes.  Another reason was the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Comptroller of The Treasury of Maryland vs Wynne case.  We examine that issue today.

The Wynne case started when two Howard County residents with income from a firm that did business in other states applied for an income tax credit to offset their out-of-state earnings.  While they received a credit against their state income taxes, they were denied a credit against their county income taxes.  The residents sued, and the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the court sided with the plaintiffs on a 5-4 vote.  There were two consequences for local jurisdictions.  First, they could no longer tax out-of-state income.  Second, they owed refunds to residents who had paid taxes on out-of-state income dating back to 2006.  Between the two changes, Montgomery County’s Department of Finance estimated lost county income tax revenue of $76.7 million in FY17 and FY18, $31.5 million in FY19, and $16.4 million annually after FY19.

When the Executive sent the council his recommended budget in March, then-current state law required that Montgomery County pay an estimated $115 million in refunds and interest in nine quarterly installments stretching into FY19.  The hit in FY17 was $50.4 million.  But Montgomery County State Senator Rich Madaleno, Vice Chair of the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee, passed a state bill that extended the refund payment period out to FY24.  This reduced the county’s immediate liability and the Executive responded by asking the council to reduce his recommended property tax hike from 3.9 cents to 2.1 cents per $100 of assesable base.

Senator Madaleno’s legislation enabled the council to cut the Executive’s original $140 million tax hike by $33.7 million and still increase county funding for MCPS by $110 million.  But the County Council did not take advantage of it.  They increased property taxes by the Executive’s original amount anyway, a tax hike of 8.7 percent.  Why did they do that?  We will explore that question soon, but first we will examine another source of potential reductions in the tax hike: savings from collective bargaining agreements.

More in Part Four.

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Kurtz on Madaleno

In Center Maryland, see Josh Kurtz’s column about Rich Madaleno’s role as a central opponent of the Hogan administration:

With Hogan riding high in the polls – a circumstance fueled partially by his commitment to cutting taxes, fees and tolls (regardless of the consequences to state government) – Madaleno has become a one-man truth squad. No one in the legislature has so consistently questioned the governor’s policies and the arguments behind them – especially on fiscal matters, where Madaleno, vice chairman of the Budget & Taxation Committee, has a particular expertise. . . .

“It did strike me at the beginning of this term, Hogan ran on a budget and tax platform,” Madaleno says. “I became the vice chair of the Budget & Tax Committee. It just seemed that I was positioned to be able to make the counter-arguments to the governor’s, I think, flawed agenda. So I was happy to step up and push back on what I think are many misrepresentations of what we’ve done over the last eight years.”

Madaleno has been especially vocal about critiquing Hogan’s education spending priorities. When Hogan announced earlier this fall that he was cutting certain fees for state services, Madaleno was quick to try to point out what he saw as the consequences – and take issue with some of the governor’s accounting.

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MoCo Young Republicans Attack Madaleno Letter

“Indiana may have taken our Colts; they cannot be allowed to trample our principles.”

Indiana Letter

The Montgomery County Young Republicans have attacked Sen. Madaleno for his letter:

mocoyr

Interesting that the Young Rs view the letter as somehow an attack that needs response. I wonder how in tune they are with their members, as surveys routinely show that younger Republicans heavily favor LGBT rights.

These tweets seem particularly ill-timed since the budget just passed the Senate with bipartisan enthusiasm. If you’re unhappy about taxes and debt, Republicans now own it as much as the Democrats.

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Raskin In for the Eighth, Madaleno Staying in MD Senate

A Photo from Three Years Ago that Works Even Better Today
(Photo: Edward Kimmel)

Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18) mentioned to Kevin Gillogly (reported on his Facebook page) that he is not running for the Eighth Congressional District and will stay in the Maryland Senate, where he is Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

In the Baltimore Sun, Sen. Raskin said previously that he was loathe to oppose Sen. Madaleno who is “like a brother to me” but otherwise, “wild horses” wouldn’t keep him out of Eighth Congressional District race. As Madaleno is not running and the nearest wild horses in Chicoteague don’t seem likely to take up Raskin’s challenge by swimming to the Eighth, it seems safe to say Jamie is running for Congress.

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Madaleno Special Orders Hoskins

Commissioner Hoskins_REVAnne Hoskins

Montgomery Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18) has special ordered the controversial nomination of Anne Hoskins to the Public Services Commission. In English, this means that the nomination will be discussed separately on the Senate floor.

The purpose appears to be to highlight the problematic approval of trackers by the PSC, which allow utilities to receive rate increases before they make investments rather than the more traditional practice of requesting them afterward.

Concern regarding Hoskins centers on how strongly she will lean toward the utilities– she favors trackers–rather than her past work in industry. After all, industry experience may give her knowledge that strengthens her ability to serve as a good commissioner. And experience in industry is no guarantee of views–the PSC Commissioner who wrote the dissenting opinion opposing trackers came from industry.

I expect that the nomination will pass easily but the special order will usefully highlight the use of trackers and the continuing concern of many Marylanders regarding power reliability and PSC supervision of power utilities.

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