Christmas is over and the new is here. In just a short time, eight delegates and three senators representing Harford County will be returning to Annapolis for the 2012 Maryland General Assembly Session. I am honored to continue to represent northern Harford County in this upcoming session.
An early focus of our work there will be legislative redistricting. Maps have been disseminated and there was a day of comment on the proposals that took place just a week or so ago. My new district, 35B would extend in to Cecil County and I would have to give up western Harford County, which becomes part of District 7. While the people of Cecil county think a lot like my Harford constituents, this proposal makes me want to fight even harder for the sensible values of Harford's residents.
Last session I voted against increases in the alcohol tax. The revenues from this tax were promised to the disabled, who came to Annapolis en masse in support of the bill. Some of us opposed this "dime a drink" legislation, suspecting that it would just be another source of funds for the governor to redirect to his special interests, in spite of our burgeoning state deficit.
This bill passed, and in the past year the bulk of these new revenues were indeed earmarked for Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George's County, just as we had suspected. The budget for the DDA was actually cut, and thousands of Marylanders most needy remain on waiting lists. I promise to work hard this session to insure that the DDA is fully funded, with no new taxes, this being an issue very close to my own heart.
There has been a recent buzz among my friends about a possible increase in the gas tax. More than any other issue, I have been asked to oppose any increased tax on fuel. The folks I know are just getting by and no one is calling these times "the good times." I find it unconscionable to even consider saddling my fellow Marylanders with new or increased taxes while the economy remains in the doldrums. At the start of this century, gas was just a dollar a gallon. Adding taxes when costs have more than tripled is something I will passionately oppose.
I venture that the governments attack on the farmers of Maryland will continue unabated in 2012. I worked hard to oppose the Nutrient Management Regulations proposed by Buddy Hance, the Secretary of Agriculture for the State. Thankfully, the recent proposals to fence off all bodies of water from livestock were temporally withdrawn by the governor for further study. Like most Marylanders, I treasure the Chesapeake Bay, but mis-intentioned regulations to save the bay that would put Harford's farmers out of business are unacceptable.
There are countless other issues that will come up in Annapolis in the 90-day session that will affect you. Please let me know your thoughts and concerns on those that matter to you.
You can reach me by e-mail at email@example.com. My phone number in Annapolis is 410-841-3284.
Del. H. Wayne Norman Jr.