ANNAPOLIS -- How hot a potato is the Linowes tax report? It took a coalition of Baltimore-area elected officials more than a half-hour of debate yesterday to agree to even talk about it again.
By a unanimous vote, members of the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments, a regional planning agency, adopted a resolution that says, in part, that the group should take an "appropriate" position on any Linowes legislation in the future.
The local government officials rejected an amendment, offered by Baltimore Planning Commission Chairman Kenneth Strong, that would have added a clause suggesting that the council consider "all sections and aspects of the commission's report."
The fact that government leaders in the Baltimore area might have some differences of opinion on the Linowes recommendations was no great surprise. The study proposes a restructuring of the state's tax system to aid poorer subdivisions, place a greater tax burden on the rich and raise $800 million more in revenue.
City officials like the idea. The more affluent counties are not so enthusiastic.
"It seems to me there are people predisposed in opposition to this before understanding it," said Baltimore City Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge, D-2nd, vice chairman of the group. "It is my hope people will understand this report before they decide to oppose it."
The regional council includes representatives from Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.
Earlier this week, the Greater Baltimore Committee, a coalition of about 1,000 Baltimore-area businesses, endorsed the Linowes proposals. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce gave the report a cautious nod, with the proviso that it should be "revenue neutral."