Alexander Rediger: For the love of god, Baltimore, learn how to make espresso

I appreciate that some may think I’m a pretentious idiot or that I just want to complain, but I have sat by in silence too long. Baltimore has a host of problems and a bunch of benefits as well. We’re often looked down on by our larger neighbors for being too small, having too much crime, and having inadequate public transportation. But what we all know is that Baltimore excels in gastronomy. We have world class dishes for every type of person and appetite, from crab cakes and lake trout to amazing pizza and wonderful local breweries — all the way up to high-end French and Italian cuisine. (Balt. Sun)

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April 16 // Frank DeFilippo: Maryland's black and blue politics

Inside and around the Beltway, and far and wide across the country, scorekeepers and other soothsayers are quick to declaim Maryland as among the most redoubtable liberal and reliably Democratic states in America. The answer is yes, and no. So how did an anthropologically backwater state earn such a breakout reputation? (Md. Matters)

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Dan Rodricks: On taxes and deficits, Andy Harris wants it both ways

Wait, what? Rep. Andy Harris, a big-time supporter of the Trump/Republican tax cuts that are expected to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt, is now railing against those who refused to support a balanced-budget amendment, because not doing so is — fiscally irresponsible? (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland’s latest legislative session was flush with bipartisanship

The just-ended legislative session in Annapolis was not quite the bipartisan kumbaya festival that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has portrayed — but it wasn’t far off. Mr. Hogan, a Republican, clashed with Democrats who control the state legislature when they wrested away some of his power over the dispersal of hundreds of millions of dollars annually for school construction and renovation, and when they moved to impede local school boards in the firing and disciplining of teachers and other school employees. (Wash. Post)

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Michael Farren and Anne Philpot: Md's $8.5 billion incentive package won't sway Amazon. Here's why

Maryland legislators this month approved an additional $6.5 billion in subsidies to lure Amazon’s new “HQ2” headquarters to Montgomery County. The state now holds a dubious distinction, having made the largest bid for the tech giant — at least among those that have been made public (and Montgomery County’s subsidy offer is still secret to boot). Coupled with another $2 billion promised for infrastructure spending, the state’s offer now stands at $8.5 billion in total. That’s more than 3 percent of Maryland’s anticipated tax revenue over the next 10 years. All things being equal, Amazon would make a great addition to Maryland’s economy. The problem is that targeted tax incentives, grants and government-backed loans in the name of “economic development” don’t actually grow the economy. (Balt. Sun)

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Transforming Baltimore neighborhoods — and city government

Some are questioning whether Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Violence Reduction Zones” are actually reducing violence and other crime or whether they’re just pushing it elsewhere. Others ask whether the enhanced services those communities are receiving, from trash clean-up to the boarding of vacant houses, are really meant to benefit residents or to foster gentrification. We think those critics are missing the point. What the mayor’s initiative represents is an effort to reset the relationship between the city government and the residents of some of its poorest neighborhoods. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland General Assembly continues taking reasonable, incremental steps on guns

If Americans could resolve their differences over guns, they could resolve just about anything. But divisions over the regulation of gun ownership and the meaning of the Constitution's Second Amendment reflect drastically different views of how to balance public safety and individual rights. We're no closer to a resolution than we were 10 years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller, or, for that matter, 50 years ago. If anything, the schism is growing. We've had illustrations of this not just nationally but locally, in last month's March For Our Lives in Annapolis and in Saturday's gun rights rally at Lawyers Mall. (Capital)

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Les Cohen: MGM is expanding at National Harbor — but at whose expense?

MGM National Harbor casino in Oxon Hill is now Maryland’s largest casino by gross revenue and total taxes paid. For the people of Prince George’s County, MGM promised substantial, badly needed funding to improve the county’s public schools that are struggling to give the county’s children the quality education they deserve and make them competitive for jobs and college admissions. MGM National Harbor is building a 50,000-square-foot expansion above the main floor of the casino — a 37 percent increase in gaming space. It’s classified as an “interior expansion,” the approval of which was allowed to occur without a site plan and without public hearings or impact studies. It is expected to be completed this year. So why isn’t this good news? (Wash. Post)

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