Amy Luppens: Poverty line stats miss many people who are struggling

In 1963, statistician and economist Mollie Orshansky developed a formula for a threshold, still used today, as a measure of the income a household must not exceed in order to be considered “poor.” However, this formula for poverty doesn’t reflect modern expenses including taxes, child care and medical expenses, nor does it account for geographic differences in cost of living or changes in standard of living over time. United Way’s ALICE report, recently published in Maryland, allows us to put a face on the families and individuals on the Eastern Shore who live above the federal poverty level, but struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet — and who are not able to maintain a basic, cost-of-living budget. (Daily Times)

 

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Democracy is loud -- and likely to get louder

Here in Annapolis we know what democracy sounds like. There might be drums, even bagpipes, but instrumental accompaniment is optional. There is certain, however, to be rhymed chanting and raucous cheers. Signs will be waved, fists will be pumped in the air and evocative — and sometimes just plain odd — outfits will be worn. It's not every day you see someone dressed up as a fracking tower. As we reported on Sunday, during last year's General Assembly session the state capital saw 51 rallies. We're likely to do better than that this year — there had been 47 as of March 3, and two were scheduled for Monday. (Capital)

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Michael Gecan: Baltimore's Turnaround Tuesdays change lives

Only 43 miles separate Zion Baptist Church in Baltimore from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation's capital, but it would be hard to imagine two more different — and culturally distant — places. For two hours on a recent Tuesday morning, I sat in on what is called Turnaround Tuesday — a creation of a citizens organization, Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development and an affiliate of the group I co-direct, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Seventy five residents were in their chairs at 9:00 a.m. sharp to participate in a program that was one part AA meeting, one part religious service, one part boot camp, one part job-preparedness training and all parts remarkable. (Balt. Sun)

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March 13 // Barry Rascovar: Hogan’s Trump trouble

Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, Jr., has done all in his power to separate himself from the new, controversial Republican president, Donald Trump. Given Trump’s unpopularity in Maryland – he lost by a whopping 25% in November – that wall of separation keeps Hogan in good stead with most voters in this top-heavy Democratic state. His popularity remains sky-high and Hogan continues to skirt controversial social issues that could bring him trouble with liberal voters while losing the backing of GOP conservatives. (Md. Reporter)

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Charlotte Hays Murray: A $15 minimum wage benefits Baltimore business

The Baltimore City Council will soon take a final vote on a bill that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As a small business owner, I strongly urge the council and Mayor Catherine Pugh to support this important step toward making the city a fairer, more prosperous place. The reasons are both practical and pragmatic. (Balt. Sun)

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Stephen J.K. Walters: Raising Baltimore's minimum wage is a foolhardy Robin Hood move

"It's time to share the wealth." That's Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke's latest slogan in her campaign for a $15 minimum wage in Baltimore. Like most sound bites, this one is both simplistic and misleading. It wrongly assumes a Baltimore with strong labor demand. It foolishly imagines that fixing the price of entry-level and unskilled labor half again higher than that payable a few miles away will produce no competitive ill effects. The sad reality is that misguided policies like this one have made Baltimore non-competitive with its surrounding suburbs and rival cities for decades. As a result, we've been in economic decline for so long we hardly know what organic growth and widely-shared prosperity looks like anymore. (Balt. Sun)

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Rushern L. Baker III: Why the new FBI building belongs in Prince George’s County

Today, like the War Department in the 1940s, the FBI is haphazardly dispersed among as many as two dozen buildings, including many that lack security protections. The downtown FBI headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, is literally falling apart and was not built for the mission of the modern FBI, falling short on the technology, communications and coordination needed to fulfill its responsibilities. The FBI is in desperate need of a consolidated headquarters, and our nation is in desperate need of the most secure headquarters we can provide. (Wash. Post)

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Thomas Wheatley: Sanctuary cities are an insult to legal immigrants

On Monday evening, Rockville held a public hearing to discuss local enforcement of federal immigration laws. Specifically, the hearing concerned an ordinance proposed by Rockville City Council member Julie Palakovich Carrthat would preserve Rockville’s status as a safe haven for illegal immigrants. The ordinance’s most controversial provision would prohibit city law enforcement officials from detaining any person based “on any immigration detainer or federal administrative warrant when such immigration detainer or administrative warrant is based solely on a violation of federal civil immigration law.” Predictably, the hearing attracted a diverse crowd, including a group of people normally overlooked in the illegal immigration debate: other immigrants. (Wash. Post)

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