Kurt Reigel: Where I Stand

Some of us were born in Annapolis and others came here from elsewhere, but everybody agrees we have a great town with wonderful people. Our biggest challenge is to stay positive as we strive for a future that honors the best of our traditions, and is also better. Here’s where we stand and how I, as alderman, can help Annapolis be a more vibrant place — where residents love to live, and others want to visit. (Capital)

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Oct. 22 // Budget fixes fraying

Maryland’s sales tax may have gone up in 2007. Its income taxes may have been raised in 2012. And its gas taxes may have been raised in 2013. But, the story continued, at least the governor and legislature had solved Maryland’s long-running problem with “the structural deficit” — an imposing term meaning simply that the state’s spending and tax revenues were seriously out of whack. This narrative offered consolation to hard-pressed Maryland taxpayers. What a pity it wasn’t true. (Carr. Co. Times)

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The business case for redistricting reform

When the Greater Baltimore Committee asked a roundtable of CEOs for ideas on how to improve Maryland's business climate, many of the answers were unsurprising — lower taxes, a more predictable regulatory system and the like. But at least one of them wasn't so intuitively obvious: reforming the way Maryland draws its legislative districts. (Balt. Sun)

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Poll shows voters sense gerrymandering's dangers

Maryland voters last year rejected a referendum that would have forced the redrawing of the state’s farcical congressional district boundaries. Perhaps that’s because they knew the map would be revised by the same bunch of self-serving politicians who did the gerrymandering in the first place. But as MarylandReporter.com reported recently, a poll question posed by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies Inc. — at the behest of the Greater Baltimore Committee, which paid for it to be asked — indicates that 73 percent of Maryland voters favor the setting of district lines by independent commissions rather than politicians. (Capital)

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Barbot: Baltimore is getting healthier, but still has a way to go

Life expectancy is up and racial disparities are down in many measures, but rises in emergency room visits and syphilis cases are troubling. The banner headline is that the health status of Baltimore City residents looks brighter than it did just a few years ago. The follow up, and perhaps more newsworthy message, is that we are closing the gap in racial and ethnic disparities for many of the leading health indicators. (Balt. Sun)

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William Triplett: Energy independence now politically incorrect?

So why has the Maryland Democratic establishment been silent about Cove Point? There was a time when the Democratic Party was the party of good union wages and high salaries for professionals. Now their new master is the liberal donor class that finances their campaigns. If the Maryland Democratic politicians didn’t comment, it’s because they didn’t want to call attention to their illiberal backing of a valuable fossil fuel. Still, the Sierra Club sounded the alarm, claiming that natural-gas drilling caused “record fires, droughts and superstorms like last year’s Sandy.” (Wash. Times)

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Dan Rodricks: How about some sugar for I-95 carpoolers?

What happens is this: Crews, cranes and concrete trucks converge on Interstate 95 for months and sometimes years, and the typical motorist, unhappy about having to drive on the American autobahn at any time — much less when it is being repaired — curses the nuisance. The motoring life — too many cars, too many nuts, noxt enough lanes, not enough time — is fraught with opportunities to be myopic, ungrateful and angry. Interstate 95 is, in some stretches, what the British call "particularly vexing." It will turn the most pleasant of individuals into glassy-eyed ingrates, grousing at the guys laying rebar and concrete. (Balt. Sun)

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Obamacare's web test

One of the great ironies of last week's budget debacle that left Republicans in such an internal disarray is that if party moderates had prevailed weeks earlier and the GOP had not pushed the nation into a government shutdown and the brink of insolvency, it might be President Barack Obama and the Democrats looking up from the lower rung of public opinion polls today. (Balt. Sun)

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