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PURPOSE AND POWER

June Smith

Given what took place the last time the circus was in Annapolis, a review of the recent laws necessary for the welfare of the State of Maryland, signed into law by the Governor, seemed appropriate for Friday, The Thirteenth.

 
This isn’t driven by parakevidekatriaphobia; rather, by the fear of the unintended consequences resulting from the actions of the powers-that-be who are protecting us from the things that don’t harm us and subjecting us to things that do. As many of you know, that was one of Ron’s main themes.
 
By now, many Marylanders know about the increases in income tax, the flush tax, and tobacco tax and have heard the heralding of the bills passed to save the Bay and the environment.
 
FYI: Maryland ended fiscal year 2011 with a 7.5% growth in revenue. The grand total for the Actual and Estimated General Fund Revenue was $13,537,363,863. Individual income taxes generated $6,643,428,888; $547,301,425 came from corporate taxes; $3,656,043 came from sales and use taxes; and $499,398,851 was dropped in the bucket from lottery receipts.
 
Revenue from business franchise taxes brought in $210,171,002; $285,942,114 from tax on insurance companies; $216,044,159 from estate/inheritance taxes; tobacco tax revenue topped the list at $407,570,396; alcohol beverages “excises” brought in $30,434,733; and motor vehicle fuel tax added $5,000,000. Don’t know how they hit such a round number. Maybe they topped it off. Highway user revenue totaled $377,054,884.
 
The District Courts captured $86,867,248; Clerks of the Courts contributed the lowest revenue: $29,263,499; hospital patient recoveries, whatever that is, resulted in $74,233,348 added to the coffers; $58,380,514 came from interest on investments; and “miscellaneous” accounted for $386,234,327.
 
There are no dollar signs or end decimal points denoting a currency format on the General Fund Revenue Memorandum (www.marylandtaxes.com/finances/revenue/detailed.asp/), possibly due to an Excel absolute formula issue or maybe because they don’t think about money in real terms.

But I digress…

Tax increases surely top the list but there was a boatload of legislated bunkum put into place deemed necessary for the well-being and prosperity of the Free State.

 
Most likely, only early morning beer-drinking Howard Country golfers know that for the welfare of the State, those in power have changed ”from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. the starting time for selling beer, wine, and liquor at golf courses in Howard County that hold a 7–day Class GC license.”  
 
Here’s a link to the list of the Bills sponsored by the Presidents of the Senate and the House, Committee Chairs, Senators and Delegates and prepared for Governor O’Malley’s signature on May 2, 2012—ninety-one pages of legislation for the betterment of Maryland, so say they.
 

GOVERNOR’S PRESS RELEASE Bills to be Signed by the Governor on May 2, 2012 SB 236 The President (By Request – Administration), et al www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/signed5.2.12.pdf – 2012-05-01 – Text Version

 
And here are a few gems acted upon by the wise ones:
 

·        The establishment of “a Maryland standard of identity for honey”
·       “Providing that a minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to dental treatment   
      if the minor is married or is the parent of a child·         The State Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors has been authorized “to require 
      specified applicants or licensees to submit to a mental or physical examination under   
      specified circumstance”

·        Authorization of “a portion of the Maryland-Bred Race Fund to be allocated for horses that 
      are conceived, but not necessarily foaled, in Maryland”
·       “Repealing a requirement that the Department of the Environment certify specified drivers
      of controlled hazardous substance vehicles”
·        “Requiring a nonresident pharmacy to have a pharmacist on staff who is licensed for
      providing specified services to patients”
·        “Authorizing a secondhand precious metal object dealer, during the required holding
      period, to place specified items into a secure container under specified circumstances”
·        “Requiring a retail pet store that sells dogs to post conspicuously on each dog’s cage
      specified information about the dog”
·        “Prohibiting an alcoholic beverages licensee in Baltimore City from advertising falsely;
      requiring the Baltimore City Board of License Commissioners to enforce a prohibition on
      advertising falsely; and defining the term “advertise falsely”
·         “Changing the name used to cite a violation of the litter control law from “Litter Control
       Law” to “Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law”; and altering the agency authorized in 
       Baltimore City to enforce specified provisions relating to illegal dumping and litter control
       through the use of surveillance systems.”
·         “Creating a Class BWL–MZ license for use at a zoo in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore City;
       specifying that the license may be used to sell beer, wine, and liquor for consumption only
       on the land and in the facilities used by the zoo”

·         “Providing that the failure to seek an appeal in a criminal case may not be construed as a
       waiver of the right to file a petition for writ of error coram nobis.”

·          “Authorizing the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to amend the cause of death on a
       certificate of death at any time after registration without a court order”
·         “Increasing the pension of a judge of the Orphans’ Court for Allegany County under
       specified circumstances”
·         “Authorizing a food service facility to operate with the outer windows or outer doors of the
       facility open unless the local health department finds evidence of specified vermin or flying
       insects while the facility is operating with the outer doors or outer windows open…”
 
That’s just a sampling of the things that will make Maryland “better” now, thanks to those responsible for the wellbeing of the Free State.
 
Task Forces, Work Groups, Committees, Councils and Committees are in the works for end runs around a variety of things that will result in additional taxes, fees, and other nonsense.
 
We’ll have to wait for the results of that drivel for the betterment of Maryland until next year’s Assembly.
 
At least the session has timed out for now.
 

June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is www.FriendsofRonSmith.com.  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins and is an advocate for H.R. 733, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Education Act. Her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.






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