Town Square, March 6, 2019

Town Square is an opinion column to which readers can submit their views. As a true community newspaper, we’re always looking for ways to include local thought and pertinent viewpoints. This forum is a way to share those thoughts. Civility and fair comment will always prevail.


ENCOURAGEMENT: Camilla Lewis, changing the world, so proud of you! [re: Banner’s online article, “Council is asked to increase funding for animal welfare,” March 1]


DANGER: The beginning of the end of watermen! [re: Banner’s article, “County opposes oyster restrictions,” Feb. 27]


A contentious hearing took place Feb. 22 in the State Senate as some state leaders try to take away alcohol regulation duties from the office of Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has been a vocal supporter of the craft beer industry. Mr. Franchot says the move would cost Maryland taxpayers $50 million.


RESPECT: Since Comptroller Peter Franchot was elected and began his service on the Board of Public works, he’s always been responsive to citizen concerns, always took the time to understand the issues, and to my knowledge, always treated all Marylanders with civility and respect.
BIPARTISAN: As a Republican, I proudly voted for Mr. Franchot and I have written him to praise his looking out for the citizens of Maryland. He thanked me and reminded me that when it comes to looking out for Maryland’s interest, he is neither Republican nor Democrat, he is just doing what is best for Marylanders. Stand with Mr. Franchot.


CONFIDENCE: The comptroller is one of the few politicians in this state that the voters actually have any confidence in. Mr. Franchot has repeatedly demonstrated that his concern and regard is for the well-being of the state and its people and that he will not participate in blind party politics.


SPENDING WHERE: Where does the $50 million figure come from … spent on what?


ANSWER FROM THE OFFICE: The $50 million figure comes from the State’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates (BRE), which advises the governor and General Assembly on the costs of legislation. According to the BRE, this would cost $50 million over five years because it would lead to a wholesale duplication of state resources. We would still be responsible for taxing these industries, but the newly-independent Field Enforcement Division would be responsible for regulating these industries. So we would still need our current resources for carrying out our tax-related duties – bearing in mind that this division also works on a broad range of compliance and taxpayer security measures. And the new division would need to find new employees, office space, equipment, hardware, software, etc.

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