ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers are starting to debate how much “severance tax” should be imposed on the natural gas that might be produced from the Marcellus Shale rock formation in Western Maryland.
Take your pick: PlanMaryland is either A) a useful statewide guide for coordinating future growth, or B) a war on rural Maryland that strips land-use decisions from citizens and steers them into towns and cities.
By Megan Poinski
This is the second of four articles on PlanMaryland, the proposed state planning guidelines, that have stirred passionate opposition from many local officials.
To listen to the Department of Planning talk about PlanMaryland, the long-term development plan being drafted for the state, it does not represent a major policy shift.
“With PlanMaryland, we’re just trying to carry out what the whole state has said it wanted,” said Andrew Ratner, director of communications for the Maryland Department of Planning. Ratner said that the plan is built off of the 12 visions for economic growth, resource protection and planning policy that were drafted by a task force named by Gov. Martin O’Malley and codified by the General Assembly in 2009. The plan is nothing but a framework that syncs what departments are doing in the vein of smart growth, requiring no additional legislation to be implemented.
However, opponents to the plan feel otherwise.
“This represents a dramatic policy shift,” said Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, who represents mostly rural Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. “It targets all infrastructure growth, and urbanizes the suburban parts of the state.”
November 3, 2011
Secretary Richard Hall
Maryland Department of Planning
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Dear Secretary Hall,
The Senate President sent your office a letter dated, October 25, 2011, requesting you delay finalization and implementation of PlanMaryland until the Maryland State Senate could hold hearings.
It appears as though you have no intention of yielding to the wishes of the Senate President.
In a Daily Record article dated November 1st, you are quoted as saying “We have confidence in what’s in there.” If this is the case, then certainly there should be no reason to put off hearings by the State Senate until the regular legislative session. That is, unless of course there is an actual lack of confidence in “what’s in there.”
If the data used to create PlanMaryland is unimpeachable, then its presentation in front of a State Senate committee should be nothing but a simple courtesy.
I ask that you yield to the request of the Senate President and avail yourself to hearings before final recommendations and implementation of PlanMaryland.
Senate Minority Leader
Senator EJ Pipkin
The public relations spin that the Maryland Department of Planning is trying to put on the flawed PlanMaryland is unbelievable! See the MACo comments for sense of just how bad PlanMaryland is.
Secretary Hall misses the mark. PlanMaryland is a jobs killer in rural MD, strips property rights without compensation, and is leading to higher tolls, taxes, and fees.
While State money for repair of rural MD was being cut, Gov O’Malley found $120 million over the next 2 years for planning for the Purple Line & Red Line in Montgomery Co & Baltimore City (2 subway projects that will cost nearly $4 Billion-that’s Billion-dollars.
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley has been liberal with his policies on environmentalism since taking office in 2007. Reactions to his policies have been mixed. His office claims that “He is basing his decisions on what is best for Maryland now and in the future.” Senate Minority Whip E. J. Pipkin has stated when speaking to rural residents that, “We’re at war. Simply, at war.”
For full story click here:
Nine African-American voters on Thursday filed a federal complaint alleging the state’s newly approved congressional redistricting map “intentionally discriminates against racial minorities.”
For full story click here: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=128200
Sen. George Edwards said the money that could be raised probably wouldn’t benefit rural areas, which will bear the brunt of a gas tax increase.
For full story click here: http://times-news.com/local/x783646238/Local-officials-slam-state-tax-proposals
If Gov. Martin O’Malley has his way, future generations of Marylanders will be forced to live where current residents are fleeing.