After all of five days in office, I think one thing that's going to be for certain about the administration of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is that things are going to be different. Very different.
Mere hours after taking office, Hogan decided to take on/infuriate the state's LGBT community by allowing Medicaid providers to again be able to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation, and the environmental community by rescinding regulations meant to reduce the amount of phosphorous being dumped by poultry farms into the bay, and the amount of nitrous oxide emissions from coal-fired plants.
So I get that the LGBT community wasn't exactly in Hogan's corner during the election. But in this day and age, rolling back a criterion of tolerance isn't just backwards for Maryland, it's backwards for society as a whole. And I don't think it's the sort of change anyone voted for.
And I get that by rolling back the environmental jurisdictions, Hogan is kow-towing to the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland, which Hogan carried big-time. And so this next thing goes out to my Eastern Shore friends. For those of you who are all giggly that your poultry farms can now dump infinite amounts of chicken poop into the bay, increasing the bay's phosphorous level, growing the "dead zones" for bay grasses, and helping ensure the death of the Maryland blue crab, consider this. Hogan is supposedly going to the Eastern Shore to declare a "state of emergency" in terms of a statewide heroin epidemic. Ha. Infinite cow poop and infinite heroin. And all Schaefer said was that the Shore was an outhouse.
Oh. And then there's the state budget.
Nothing says "we love and treasure our employees" quite like taking back their raise after six months. But that's what Hogan's proposing to do. The 2% raise state employees got in January-- it's going away at the start of the new Fiscal Year on July 1. But wait, there's more.
The Baltimore Red Line and Washington Purple Line are still on the books for study, but both projects on life support. And somewhere, Delegates Trent Kittleman and Bob Flanagan are smiling. Why are these two state delegates so totally tone deaf on transportation? Because Flanagan was once Transportation Secretary and Kittleman worked under him, that's why! That doesn't make sense? It will soon. Anyway, I would join those who expect Hogan to scrap both mass transit projects come the spring and summer.
And on the heels of making Medicaid more discriminatory, Medicare and Medicaid rates aren't going up, continuing one of the final moves made in the O'Malley Administration. And still under review is the Hogan budget's full impact upon local jurisdictions.
Oh, but the news isn't totally horrible! Among other items, this Post article discusses that the new budget supports building a new hospital in Largo, which is a good idea.
There's little doubt that Larry Hogan's bringing the heat. And there are some of his proposals which warrant further investigation and/or detail. Such as knowing more about what his views on consolidating and reorganizing state government are. I'd love to share my ideals with the administration on that. But they haven't asked me.
I believe we are going to see a session of the General Assembly unlike any we have seen in recent history. Is that a good thing? We'll find out.
Let's be careful out there.