Business group gives Senate GOP perfect score

PoliticsElectionsRepublican PartyDemocratic PartyHoward CountyMichael E. BuschRobert A. Zirkin

Every Republican is the Maryland Senate is now equally perfect in the eyes of a conservative business advocacy group that annually ranks the votes of state legislators.

In its annual Roll Call report, Maryland Business for Responsive Government, gives every member of the GOP caucus a 100 percent score for votes during this year's regular and special sessions. The total GOP solidarity on this year's rated votes stands in contrast with last year's squishily moderate performance, when two GOP senators scored in the 80s.

The good news for MBRG is that the Republicans were rock-solid in their support this year. The bad news is that they still account for only 12 members in the 47-member Senate, and Democrats prevailed on the key votes involving matters of budget and taxes.

On the House side, three ideologically impure Anne Arundel County Republicans stood in the way of GOP perfection in MBRG's eyes -- Dels. Herbert H. McMillan (90 percent), Nicholaus R. Kipke (80 percent) and Robert A. Costa (73 percent). Tea, anyone?

On the Democratic side, scores were predictably anemic, though there were some notable swings in the Baltimore County delegation. Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, who broke with the Senate leadership on tax issues, went from a 2011 score of 11 percent to 63 percent this year -- a 52 percentage-point swing to the right.  Middle-of-the-road Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. jumped from an uncharacteristically liberal 20 percent to an unusually conservative 67 percent.  

Among House Democrats only two delegates got scores of zero and both were named Turner. Del. Frank Turner of Howard County appears to have received his goose egg as a result of an error on the part of MBRG. The organization listed him as voting no on a bill that passed 138-0, with Turner recorded as voting yes. Del. Veronica Turner of Prince George's County missed that roll call because of a serious  illness that forced her to miss much of the session. (The organization, apparently reluctant to give grades of zero, included one bill in its ratings that passed without dissent in either chamber.)

MBRG's ratings tend to reward legislators for casting votes against higher taxes, favorable treatment of unions and stepped-up environmental regulation.

MBRG gave low ratings to the Democratic presiding officers of the two chambers. House Speaker Michael E. Busch of Anne Arundel County  received a 10 percent score, while Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller of Calvert County fared a little bettter at 25 percent.

This year's rankings are notable for how much they relied on votes cast during the three-day session held in May to raise taxes to rescind budget cuts the Democratic leadership wanted to avoid. In the Senate three of 10 votes included in the rankings came from the special session; in the House it was four of 13.

 

 

 

 

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