Down Annapolis Way...
Beginning a new year is like starting any new venture, everyone is filled with hope and anticipation of what is yet to come. While pondering the political future of Maryland, I jotted a few notes; here are a few predictions for 2007.
Annapolis has become more uni-partisan (Democrat) and the press will mistake this for bi-partisan harmony. The reality is that total dominance by one party has relegated Republicans from controlling one branch of government to legislative nuisances in the minds of both the Democrats and the media.
Republican legislators will choose their fights and will articulate good arguments. The media, however, refuses to listen because this would destroy their storyline of bi-partisan joy in Annapolis.
The plan to modernize Maryland's tax code, including an increase in the sales tax, is studied by a bi-partisan group chosen by very partisan Democrat leadership. They will interview only special interest groups who, by the way, do not generate tax revenues of their own.
The end result will be a document too long to read, too heavy to carry, written in a language understood only by the Democrat leadership, which prompts a new campaign by Republicans to make English the official language of Maryland.
A summary will state that new taxes are needed. Democrat legislators, who are preparing to retire from public life, or who live in Baltimore City, Prince George's or Montgomery counties in very safe seats, will sponsor this bill. Pages in the House and Senate will be issued wheelbarrows to carry all the paper into the chambers and carry all the "you-know-what" out.
A slots debate will rage for most of the 90-day session concluding with passage. Sides will again shift. Republicans will be anti-slots and Democrats will now be pro-slots. All pro-slots legislators will work to get slot licenses in their districts. They will create a new committee to decide who can purchase a license.perhaps based on voter registration or financial contribution; it's hard to tell through the haze in the smoke-filled back rooms.
Education will be funded in an uneducated way. Potholes across the state will resemble the pocked-marked streets of Baltimore City. Smart-growth will be the buzz again. The Department of the Environment will grow to be a behemoth and no one will be able to locate the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
The State Board of Elections will be re-named The Lamone Board of Elections in honor of Linda's lifetime position. Election laws will be re-visited and oversight committees will be named with only one token Republican per five to seven Democrats. We will vote early and often in the 2008 election; the current electronic voting machines will be out - paper trails will be the fad.
There will be rumors of sexual scandal in Annapolis, after all, the Democrats are in complete control and they tend to be a little less buttoned down. More pub-crawls and live bands with mixed company.less ESPN and Sports Center with the boys in Government House.
Lawn decorations at Government House will look less like Arbutus, more like Hampden - "Hon." There will be fewer snowballs thrown and a lot more mud.
Everyone will have health insurance with premiums carried on the backs of employers and small businesses. Cost of living will rise because these employers and businesses will pass the costs through to the consumer. Doctors will raise rates because malpractice premiums will climb.
Law schools will turn out more attorneys to handle all of the lawsuits on the new subsidized health care from people living below the poverty level, who are suing their doctors because the odds of winning are better than the lottery. Lottery revenues will drop.
Income from the slots revenues will go to pay for the health care subsidy and the horse racing industry will be forgotten because no one will have located the Department of Agriculture.
Yes, it's a little different path than 2006. However, if you are a Democrat attorney who doesn't own a business, likes to party, purchases out-of-state, doesn't vote or get sick, has kids in private schools, thinks the Department of Environment is the same as Agriculture and loves to play the slots; then heaven is coming your way!
At least that's what appeared to be in the mist of the Cavey political crystal ball.