Monday, January 09, 2012

Minority Report

This morning, at his legislative breakfast in Ellicott City, Senator Allan Kittleman outlined the challenges facing the minority party in this year’s General Assembly. He noted that out of 47 state senators, only 12 are Repubs. That of course means that whenever they hope to advance something on their agenda, they need to find a little love on the other side of the aisle.

Like they did on the guvs wind power initiative last year.

Last year Martin O’Malley tried to get the state legislature to approve a package of subsidies for a proposed wind farm off of Ocean City. According to this story by Aaron C. Davis in The Washington Post, this would have added “a couple of extra dollars to every Marylander’s monthly electric bill for 20 years and thousands onto those of the state’s largest businesses.”

It died in committee thanks to a few Dems who saw this as an unfair burden on the working poor. 

“I definitely could not sign on to support offshore wind so long as ratepayers need to pay more,” said Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D-Baltimore County).”

It hasn’t completely gone away though.

“After last spring’s failure, O’Malley was initially optimistic that he could build support for a second run at a subsidy for offshore wind. But as the landscape has shifted, he has grown more cautious. In a recent roundtable with reporters, O’Malley said only that he would do “something” about offshore wind when lawmakers return.”

Allan also bought up the issue of legislative scholarships. Each member of the General Assembly gets $130,000 every four years to give away for college scholarships to Maryland schools. Each legislator is allowed to exercise their own discretion in seeing who gets this money. The program costs the state $11 million a year. Allan thinks this is a luxury the state can ill afford.

I agree with him but I think its highly doubtful that he’ll find enough Dem’s to help him kill this. People rarely give up perks easily and this is a big perk.

Allan also announced that Diane Wilson has joined his staff.
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