Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Donkey Games

It’s pretty well known that the relationship between Senator Jim Robey and County Executive Ken Ulman is not a real close one. The former county executive has been a less than enthusiastic supporter of his fellow Democrat.

Take the current initiative of the exec to increase the HoCo hotel tax for instance. Ken would like to bring our tax rate up to the same level as Anne Arundel County in order to provide additional funds for HoCo economic development and tourism efforts. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun, several hotels “said they support the two-percent tax increase and believe it would generate more business.”

Sounds like a slam dunk to me.

Not so fast says Senator Robey. He wants “written guarantees the money would be used as promised. As a measure that would only affect Howard County, such a tax increase must be approved by the Maryland General Assembly, starting with Howard's 11-member delegation.”

Ken and the HoCo Budget Director, Ray Wacks, would prefer a little more flexibility “in case unforeseen fiscal circumstances develop.”

That seems reasonable. I suspect that Jim would have preferred that flexibility back when he was county executive too but he seems somewhat less trusting of his successor. "I want to make sure if we commit to increasing the hotel/motel tax it goes to tourism," he said.”

Yeah right, that's what this is all about...tourism.
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