A new tax in an election year?

State Senator Richard Madaleno wants to impose a new tax in an election year.

The Gazette reports:

Madaleno said last week that he will refile the bill, which would allow Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot to collect sales taxes from Maryland affiliates of Amazon and similar online retailers in the state.

The move could generate $7.5 million annually for the state and help plug a multimillion-dollar budget gap next year, Madaleno said.

Governor O’Malley is being forced to trim the state budget by about $400 million and $7.5 million seems like a drop in the bucket.

The cost Democrats would pay is much greater than the benefit they would receive. From a publicity perspective, do the Democrats really want to raise taxes again, especially in an election year?

Should this new tax pass, each and every news story will not only mention how Democrats are raising taxes, but they will also remind voters of Gov. O’Malley’s billion dollar tax increase in 2007.

If the Democrats are smart, they will oppose this tax because the cost politically is far greater than the benefit.

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Facebook+MACO+Boozs = Fired Staffer

Maryland Politics Watch has a great post about partying and boozing at MACO involving numerous political staffers with PHOTOS

Check it out

We just wanted to pass it along. At a time when unemployment is rising and people are wondering what is being done by their government to help, these probably aren’t the best pictures to be surfacing…

O’MalleyWatch also has a post up “O’Malley Staffers Partying at MACO”

By the way, the staffer who posted those pictures on Facebook should be fired.

Rule of thumb for Facebook – NEVER POST PHOTOS OF YOU AND ALCOHOL!!!

When to declare?

The Associated Press reports

Richard Hug says he believes Ehrlich will run and is “looking at the situation very hard.”

Why does Richard “Dick” Hug’s opinion matter? Well, Dick is the single biggest Republican fundraiser in the state of Maryland. He was crucial to Ehrlich raising a record breaking amount in his 2006 campaign. If anyone knows what Ehrlich is thinking, Dick does.
If Ehrlich runs when will he announce?
Henry Fawell, an Ehrlich spokesman, says the former governor is comfortable waiting to make a decision, like he did in 2002 when he waited until March to formally announce his bid.

In politics timing is everything.  O’Malley is forbidden from fundraising during the legislative session (January through April).  A March announcement means forgoing two months of prime time fundraising.  An early announcement also means every major policy story will end with a quote from Ehrlich.  Forgoing the fundraising and press edges would be a major political blunder.  Look for a January announcement if Ehrlich runs.

While Maryland is a blue state early polls show leads for candidates in blue New Jersey and in purple Virginia. If Christie and McDonnell win in November, Ehrlich will jump in the race.

Legislator/Bloggers

We have stumbled across a legislator/blogger – Delegate Mike Smigiel.

www.delegatemike.com

It is good to see legislators who aren’t afraid of the internet and who realize blogging is a good way to engage their constituents. You should take some time to check out his posts.

Do you know of any other legislators in the Maryland General Assembly that also blog? Let us know who they are and we will add them to our blog list.

New Episode of “As Republicans Burn”

Over the last two days we have received 3 emails about a recent event so today’s post is a new episode in a series we have affectionately titled “As Republicans Burn.”

In last week’s episode, we reported about legislative leaders rejecting Pelura’s fake olive branch. Two weeks ago, the conversation was on “Will the RNC Bailout the MDGOP.” This week the saga continues. (Nothing would bring more joy than for this soap opera to end, but sadly Republicans keep doing blogworthy things.)

See, Minority Leader Delegate Tony O’Donnell (who represents Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties) showed up unannounced to a St. Mary’s County GOP Central Committee meeting and proceeded to chew out the group for not voting to remove embattled GOP Chairman Jim Pelura.

That prompted this blast from Mike Phillips, a minister and potential candidate for delegate in district 28. Mike’s email was posted on the official Charles County Republican Central Committee Blog:

In a recent St. Mary’s GOP Central Committee meeting, Delegate Tony O’Donnell showed up unannounced in the public forum of their meeting and proceeded to berate the committee members for supporting their Party and its elected Chairman Jim Pelura. He stated the committee as much as “stabbed me in the eye” for supporting Jim Pelura. He was stated to be “red faced” and came across as angry. The St. Mary’s County Central Committee is in the process of formulating an official response to the Delegate’s inappropriate actions. These types of activities by our elected officials are continuing to drive the wedge of division within the MDGOP. Support Pelura or not, but focus on your own work and stay out of Party business, that is the MDGOP’s role and Jim was duly elected by the convention. My advice to Tony: Put up for Republican values or shut up, but work toward party unity not deepening the divide.

Mike Phillips

It is clear the House of Delegates Republican leadership has had enough.  Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell is passionate about increasing the number of Republicans in the General Assembly and it is no surprise the conversation over the MDGOP would get heated.

Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell has every right to berate the St. Mary’s GOP Central Committee who recently joined only 9 other members of the Executive Committee in supporting Jim Pelura during a 20-10 no confidence vote.

Delegate O’Donnell is in a tough position. He has the responsibility to not only lead the current Republican Delegates, but also to do everything he can to increase the number of Republican members in the next election. Not sure everyone on the opposite side of O’Donnell’s shares the same goal.

The state party is getting trounced in voter registration, still in debt with little signs of fundraising success on the horizon, and practically no presence in the media pushing any message.

Moral of the story is that Tony O’Donnell has had enough and he has decided that for the party to actually win something, he needs to fight. The fire in Tony’s belly to move the party forward is exactly what Republicans need right now.

The irony in Mike’s email is that Mike takes Delegate O’Donnell to task for deepening the wounds in the party and yet his email being posted on an official central committee blog only deepens the division. Is it appropriate for a Central Committee to criticize a sitting member of its own party publicly? No. A side note – Delegate O’Donnell does not even represent Charles County and this was a St.Mary’s GOP local issue so why is Charles County GOP getting involved?

Mike Phillips is a Lollar Loyalist. Charles Lollar is Chairman of the Charles County Central Committee whose official blog posted this email. Charles Lollar is running for Congress against Steny Hoyer. You would think he would need help from elected officials for his campaign especially ones like Delegate O’Donnell who represent parts of the district. Elected officials know party activists, donors, and the press – all crucial resources for a first time congressional candidate especially in a long shot race.

Instead of trying to bridge the deep wounds in the state party it appears as though Lollar and his loyalists are deepening the wounds in the party. This is no way to win an election and this is definitely not a sign of leadership.

Democrats are laughing at the Republican Party in Maryland. 2010 is shaping up to be a year where Republicans have a strong wind at their back and could make gains equal to 1994. With all of the divisions in the Republican Party in Maryland, Republicans will not be able to maximize their potential in 2010.

As a side note, GA Harrison of Delmarva Dealings and RedMaryland, finally called for Jim Pelura to be fired. GA makes a solid case “How about a contract on Jim Pelura?

Statewide and Federal Races Page

We here at MD Politics Blog will be keeping a close eye on the 2010 elections. We have begun creating a one stop shop for resources on all of the candidates and what they are running for in 2010.

The first page we have created lists all candidates running for statewide and federal offices in Maryland. As we move forward, we will be creating pages for Senate and Delegate candidates and maybe even some local races.

To do this effectively we need your help. If you know of a candidate running or have a link to a candidate’s website we don’t have on the site, please shoot us an email at marylandpoliticsblog at gmail dot com .

Thanks,

MDPoliticsBlog

Maryland worth fighting for – except when it’s not

If you were to visit former Governor Bob Ehrlich’s website www.bobehrlich.com you wouldn’t find many interesting items, but one thing stuck out.

On the homepage it says next to a picture of the former gov, “Our Maryland, Always worth fighting for.”

Question: If the former gov thinks Maryland is always worth fighting for then why has he been so hesitant to declare his candidacy?

The former gov hasn’t always been so focused on fighting for Maryland. Shortly after the 2006 election the former gov was not talking so glowing about the future of Maryland. The Washington Post reported “Ehrlich said “a return to public life is unlikely,” given Maryland’s lurch to the left Tuesday.”

After his first ever electoral loss, it should come as no surprise that the former governor was depressed. Obviously time has healed some of the wounds.

Phrases like “always worth fighting for” shows the good money is on Ehrlich running again, though no one knows whether he can actually win. If he does run, it should make for a much more interesting race.