Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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The prospects of a special legislative session in Annapolis should scare all Marylanders because recent history indicates these short gatherings almost always result in government raising taxes or fees or finding other creative ways to reach further into our pockets.

This will almost surely be the end result whenever legislators head back to Annapolis to do their jobs. What happened this session, particularly in the last few days, was embarrassing and unprofessional. Leaders in the House and Senate should be ashamed of themselves for not keeping control of their chambers. It’s not our shore legislators who deserve criticism here. It’s the veteran House speaker and Senate leader who should be blamed for what transpired.  

There is only one mandated requirement the General Assembly must meet each session. That’s to adopt a budget and this legislature essentially didn’t do it. Actually, a budget is on the table, but it’s entirely unacceptable, confirmed by the “doomsday” reference used a lot this week. Consequently, officials in Wicomico and Worcester counties are left wandering how to figure out their budgets. This week most reached said are simply banking on a special session being called and more details being available after a new budget is passed.

There will be a special session to fix this debacle, and any household making over $150,000 or single tax filers with an income over $100,000 should be scared. For some ridiculous reason, Maryland legislators find a husband and wife with a combined income of $150,000 to be rich and consequently deserving of a higher income tax rate to help balance the budget. They need to wake up and understand these folks should not be in the crosshairs of more taxation.

It was this proposed income tax hike pitched by the governor that was one of the hurdles legislators could not overcome in the waning hours on Monday. They will get it all figured out in a special session, but it’s most likely going to hurt just about all of us.

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Route 54 is a mess. It has been for several years, and frustrations are now boiling over into demands.

Residents must daily cope with the major inconveniences of this project, which unquestionably will improve the roadway when finished. However, it’s the business owners along the affected stretch who are facing the true hardship. They are losing revenue and the project’s restrictions are making operating their businesses nearly impossible.

The lane closures and consistently random work schedules have at times killed an entire day’s sales, and the businesses are demanding Delaware step up the work and be completely finished by Memorial Day weekend. A petition is currently circulating to force the state’s hands and that effort has now been ramped up after workers on site have reported to motorists the project’s completion date is now July.

A meeting is set for next week to discuss the efforts further (see page 7A).
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The issue of the proliferation of feral cats is an issue for many areas, but the situation that happened in West Ocean City recently is beyond any reasonable comprehension (read the story on page 9A).

Worcester County officials this week stood behind Animal Control’s decision to euthanize the three cats that were trapped and baited by a property owner in the small neighborhood, despite the fact that move appears to run afoul of county code that requires a 10-day wait before euthanizing any seized animals. There are exceptions in the code allowing for an earlier death if certain conditions are met, and perhaps that was the case with the two cats who exhibited bizarre or aggressive behavior. That’s an unknown. However, in the case of the 16-year-old cat that had no claws and only a few teeth, that’s not a reasonable excuse.

While Animal Control is understandably under fire from the pet owners, the true issue here is why the neighbor resorted to such drastic measures of trapping and reportedly baiting the cats. The benefit of the doubt can only go so far in this case. It just seems extreme and downright mean.

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