Laslo Boyd: Governing Baltimore County

No property tax rate increases in a quarter century. No increases in the local piggyback income tax rate in 21 years. The highest bond-rating category available to a county government. Two well regarded predecessors with reputations for good management of the county budget. How do you follow acts like those? For a start, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has a background similar to Dutch Ruppersberger and Jim Smith; all three are lawyers and former members of County Council. And when you talk to Kamenetz, it’s not surprising that he begins by listing the things that he’s done to improve efficiency and the organization of County Government.

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Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, discusses Maryland's success in expanding affordable health care programs. DeMarco also talks about different ways that the state has created sources of funding to pay for the expansion.

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Donald Fry: Value of city-owned hotel must be viewed in context

Recent media reports have raised fears that that the city-owned Hilton Baltimore is about to become a major fiscal drag on Baltimore City.  Though the hotel’s operating revenues have not yet been sufficient to cover its debt-service, it’s way too early to panic.

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Inside the Headlines: Dr. Thomas Hyde, COO, Lieber Institute of Brain Development -- VIDEO

Dr. Thomas Hyde, COO, Lieber Institute of Brain Development, talks about cutting edge research underway at the institute located in the $1.8 billion dollar East Baltimore Bio Park  under development by East Baltimore Development Inc. The institute has recently expanded its space by 13,000 sq.ft. as they hire 15 to 20 more scientists to bring their team to nearly 100. Hyde discusses the potential for Baltimore to become a research and manufacturing hub for clinical advances and pharmaceuticals for the treatment of schizophrenia and related developmental brain disorders.

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Josh Kurtz: Frederick the Great

Ground zero for Maryland politics -- right now and maybe next year? Try Frederick. The city of Frederick is seeing a free-for-all race for mayor this year, with an unbelievable array of storylines, characters and resentments. And in 2014, Frederick County may play host to the most competitive general election race in the entire state, as voters choose their first-ever county executive. The two contests are very much related -- and in fact, the highly-anticipated race for county executive is largely on hold pending the outcome of the city elections this fall. Frederick has undergone enormous change over the last several years -- politically, economically and socially -- and more is coming.

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Donald Fry: Bringing compromise back to the legislative process

Maryland Congressman John Delaney was one of 30 newly-elected lawmakers who last March voiced frustration over Congressional “gridlock and dysfunction” and urged leaders of both parties to stop the partisan battles and negotiate “responsible compromise” to address the nation’s challenges. 

The ranks of the disenchanted in Washington, D.C. appear to be growing. Last week, Delaney was among 81 Congressional participants in a bipartisan “Problem-Solvers Coalition” that proposed nine specific actions to break Capitol Hill gridlock and to “make government work.”

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Laslo Boyd: Secretary of Labor Tom Perez

Those words sound really good, don’t they? Tom Perez’s confirmation last week was cheered by his many friends in Maryland after several turbulent months in which it looked like Republicans in the United States Senate would not allow his nomination to come to a vote. With apologies to Barbara Mikulski, Ben Cardin, members of the House Delegation, and Presidential aspirant Martin O’Malley, Perez may well be the most significant Marylander in national politics today. 

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John East: In Elections, Conservatives Must Reach Out to Independents from Day 1

There is good news for voters who feel ignored by Annapolis: the state Republican Party is currently considering whether to allow unaffiliated voters (often referred to as “Independents”) to vote in the Republican primary next year. Many people refer to this as allowing for an “open primary.” That is not actually the case. Nineteen states have true open primaries in which anyone can vote in any primary they choose. What is being considered is more accurately referred to as a “semi-closed” primary, because only unaffiliated voters — not Democrats —would be able to vote in the Republican primary. If Maryland Republicans go this route, Maryland would join the roughly 30 states where some form of an open, semi-closed or hybrid between the two systems exists.

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