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Setting the Record Straight

Joe Steffen has once again defamed Red Maryland, and me personally knowingly publishing demonstrably false information, stating I “impLIED” that gubernatorial candidate Del. Ron George expressed support for the House of Cards film tax credit.  He also posts a reply from George.
Let me set the record straight. 
Here’s a block quote from the Michael Dresser’s Baltimore Sun article on legislators flocking to the event headlined by House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, which I used in my piece.

Among the delegates who couldn’t resist were one candidate for governor and another for lieutenant governor.  Del. Jeannie Haddaway of Talbot County, the running mate of GOP candidate David R. Craig, said she’s a big supporter of the program. “On the Eastern Shore we’ve seen the benefit of the film industry, most recently with “Wedding Crashers” in St. Michaels,” she said.  For Del. Ron George, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, the party was only a few steps from his Annapolis jewelry store.  George, an occasional actor who said he’s probably the only Maryland lawmaker with a Screen Actors Guild card, expressed support for the film tax credit program as he headed in to meet his union brother.

Of course, Steffen left hat bit of information out of his piece. 
Steffen also selectively misquotes my piece.

In his piece, Newgent calls out Gubernatorial Candidate Ron George by saying, “However, Ron George, one of the Republicans who, actually walks the walk in Annapolis, voicing support for these subsidies is surprising.” Newgent goes onto to rub it into the faces of both Ron George and David Craig’s LG candidate, Jeannie Haddaway by further writing, “It’s rare that you’ll find a Republican legislator (Ron George) willing to call out those who are, at least ostensibly on their side. I hope Ron and Jeannie (Haddaway) reconsider their support for this clear case of corporate welfare.”

Hmm what’s missing?
Here’s the entire paragraph including the middle sentence Steffen deliberately cut out in order to distort what I wrote.

However, Ron George, one of the Republicans who, actually walks the walk in Annapolis, voicing support for these subsidies is surprising.  I vividly remember a House GOP Caucus pre-session briefing, in 2010 where Ron chastised the Maryland Chamber of Commerce for “taking the wind out of his sails” by rolling over on principle for meager scraps from the O’Malley administration. It’s rare that you’ll find a Republican legislator willing to call out those who are, at least ostensibly on their side.  I hope Ron and Jeannie reconsider their support for this clear case of corporate welfare.

Steffen conveniently left those important parts out of his hit piece.  
Why? 
Because it would complicate his lie.
To quote Steffen’s favorite Seinfeld character George Costanza, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

But wait, there’s more.
Does Ron George support the film tax credit? No he does not.  My mistake was relying on Dressser’s reporting, and not contacting George to confirm it.  I spoke with Del. George on the phone, and what he told me was quite interesting.  
George told me he never actually read my post after Steffen contacted him.  In fact, his response was based solely on what Steffen told him about my piece.  George told me entire exchange was conducted via Facebook messenger.
Given that Steffen deliberately omitted Dresser’s piece as the source of my statement about George supporting the film tax credit, as well as a key sentence to distort what I wrote, it should be no surprise that Steffen mislead George about what I actually wrote.
Ron emailed me this statement:

Mark, I thank you for the phone call this evening and allowing me the chance to explain my position on the film tax credit.  While you apologized for assuming the Mike Dresser Sun article was correct and for not calling me, I also owe you an apology for my strong comment at the end of my earlier statement as this was the second time Red Maryland wrote something without calling me first and thus I responded a bit harsh.  I apologize since I had not yet read your full comment where you had complemented me for “having always walked the walk”. I realize your comments of me were more an expression of shock that I would continue to support it.  I will say that you are someone that tries to be fair in your reporting.  I appreciate your apology for not calling me and I thank you for accepting mine for my stronger than usual statement of frustration at the end of my statement. [emphasis mine].
 
 

The fact is, I never told Dresser I supported it. I said I supported it in the past at a smaller amount to attract the film industry but that we were holding it up in Ways and Means, studying what the returns were and had concerns for the requested larger increase.  I also do not see this as helping an entire industry, but only two productions, one in particular. That is against my litmus test for tax credits. My comment I sent out this afternoon on it is below minus my questioning your integrity. Again, thank you for your call this evening to set the record straight. 

 There is a litmus test I made for when I am voting on tax credits.
Of course my first choice is to lower all business taxes.  It drives me crazy that the liberal Dems go gaga over some actor and start saying a lower tax will stimulate growth but they won’t give a break to the local businesses. 

My test is simply: 

1st:  given our states high taxes will this be a credit that will generate growth in a industry which is stagnant because of our high rates and will the industry grow on its own after that. 

2nd: is it a credit given to one business but not to others in the same industry and if so, why is that: Is it because of donations given to elected officials? (Crony capitalism) This is a big NO vote for me.  Note I have been uncovering for two years and arguing that Maximus gave big donations to O’Malley and the DGA right after getting the contract for the health care rollout because O’Malley chose them out of ten companies without a procurement process. That is wrong. 

I did support the film tax credit the first time as it was meant for the entire film industry and not just one company and was a small test to see if it would work. It has not.
This time they are back asking for much more and, as I told the press, I do not believe they have shown how this is attracting the industry and generating growth on its own.  They also have made no attempt to locate here and establish more growth,  AND I feel local businesses deserve a break 1st. It is not our job to tax locals in order to help companies located elsewhere. 

I was asked by the press to come to say a comment. I went to Red Red Wine (my jewelry store is three doors up) and spoke to the press, stuck my head in and left after one beer. I watched it as an anthropology project…It was sickening to see the gaga attitudes of liberals who won’t cut a break for the local business guy.  I told the press I will listen to what they have to say as I do on all issues pro or con.  But It was too hokey a gathering so I left after a quick draft beer.
 Thanks again,
Ron George

George also posted this to Steffen’s Facebook wall.

Again, I reiterate, nowhere in his piece did Steffen mention Dresser’s Sun article, which was my source, and he selectively omitted a key paragraph where I praised George.
Ron George does not support the House of Cards subsidy, and as I said he walks the walk in Annapolis.

I can admit when I’m wrong.  Can Joe Steffen admit he distorted what I wrote and mislead Delegate George?   





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