Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for January 16-22

Organizing, training and extending our power through people and ideas are at the forefront in January 2018. Check out statewide action, including a member orientation in Frederick and upcoming training for building power -- and events and actions from our chapters around the state in continuing resistance, fair elections, Medicare for all and bringing people power to the General Assembly.


 

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Kirwan Commission ready to “shake up the people,” chairman says

The "Kirwan Commission" was tasked with updating the results of the Thornton Commission's decade of education funding and making new recommendations on both funding and other aspects of education policy in Maryland.

The draft "final" report and work session earlier this week showed there was a distance still to go and some big fiscal decisions that would face the General Assembly. Because the commission delayed its final money recommendations the Assembly breathes a sigh of relief that it won't have to face that debate -- and the prospect of new revenues -- in an election year.

Len Lazarick, founder of Maryland Reporter, has been steadily covering the commission's work over the last one-plus years and delivers a roundup here.


 

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Coalition demands: "End the Bail Lobby’s Corrupting Influence in Annapolis"

A coalition of criminal justice advocates yesterday urged lawmakers to return donations from the bail-bonds industry, bolster pretrial services statewide, and work to end the for-profit bail system in Maryland.“We want any legislation put forward and supported by the bail-bond industry to be recognized as tainted, illegitimate and should not be considered,’ said Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland,”

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IRS may eventually say "never mind" on local tax prepayment ruling


The new tax bill hits residents of wealthy Blue-state jurisdictions like Montgomery County hard. The IRS said it would disallow moves by local government to accept prepayment of real estate taxes for 2017 tax year deduction purposes. Hal Ginsberg (a former lawyer, but never a tax lawyer) notes "The IRS did not explain its reasoning, which is understandable since the law specifies just the opposite."

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for January 8-15, 2018

The Maryland General Assembly opens Wednesday and there is plenty to accomplish and plenty to guard against – the usual.

Progressive Maryland is working to advocate for and advance progress on criminal justice, override of the Hogan veto on Paid Sick Leave, and many other critical needs in Maryland, while fighting against the business-as-usual routines of high-paid lobbyists influencing legislators in dire need of corporate cash for their 2018 reelection campaigns. Not having their money, we'll just have to outwork them. And we know how to do that.

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As Assembly gathers, lobbyists flock around to scuffle for cash

The Maryland General Assembly deals in big bucks, and businesses, corporations and the just plain filthy rich spend money, too, to make sure they get as much benefit as they can from the session that begins next week. Highly paid lobbyists are there to pursue that goal, and the welfare of ordinary folks are often not part of their plans, as we can surmise from this account by Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter.


 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Jan 2-8 2018

Welcome to 2018. More than ever this will be a year when solidarity matters. It is going to be top-line critical that we all, as progressives, seek our commonalities and find broad areas where we can work together. And make your voice heard. See below, and in the weeks that follow, for how.


 

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Bring the School Board Back to the People of Prince George’s

A 2013 bill in the Maryland General Assembly backed by Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker created an environment where the School CEO was basically only accountable to the County Exec.    So when it came to big decisions, public input wouldn’t really matter much as long as they had unflinching support from the other side of Upper Marlboro. It's time to reverse that process and make the board all-elected again.

 

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We Can Take the Lead in Remaking America

The co-directors of our national affiliate, People's Action, have a positive view of the prospects for 2018. Nothing will happen without struggle, of course, but struggle will bring progress despite the GOP oligarchy at the top.

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Taking a closer look at the Trump voter

One of our jobs as progressives is to figure out how to have these conversations in a way that presents acceptable alternatives but doesn't scare away the Trump voters of the world.  I know that some of my views would not be acceptable to my co-worker, but I also know we don't have to agree 100% in order to have a conversation. 

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