Legislators Pat Themselves On Back At Session's End

April 09, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

County lawmakers gave themselves and their colleagues passing marks as they prepared to adjourn the bitterest General Assembly session inrecent memory.

"Even with the difficult fiscal condition and the mood of the public, I'd still give us a 'C,' " said Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park.

"Comparing it to past sessions, I wouldn't call it our finest hour," admitted Delegate Elizabeth S. Smith, R-Davidsonville.

The General Assembly adjourned itsannual 90-day session yesterday, having balanced the state's $11.6 billion budget. And despite a $500 million deficit, lawmakers praised themselves for avoiding layoffs of state employees and fighting the urge to pass a major tax increase.

Although Gov. William Donald Schaefer's proposed statewide controls on growth failed, lawmakers finally passed a "watered down" measure to protect Maryland's trees from development.

The effort, however, was notpainless -- for lawmakers or their constituents.

The tone was setearly by constituents, who already were leery about their economic future because of the recession and didn't want state government increasing taxes. It was aggravated by the rift with Schaefer after lawmakers defeated his $800 million tax-restructuring plan and his proposedstatewide controls on growth.

"It was a very bitter session," Jimeno said. "We heard all the frustration and hostility that people feel toward government. I guess their hostility paid off -- we didn't pass any major tax increases."

Freshman Delegate Victor Sulin, D-Severn, compared crafting the balanced budget with "pulling the proverbial rabbit out of a hat. We survived a severe economic downturn without any major legislative-mandated layoffs."

Instead, lawmakers created their own $95.4 million levy on cigarettes, snack foods and capital gains. State workers also will forgo pay raises and could begin a 40-hour workweek -- up from 35 hours -- July 1. Budgets for environmental and other "non-essential" programs were pared.

"Everybody suffered, everybody was bruised," Jimeno said. "But everybody came out alive."

Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad, D-Annapolis, said the environment will suffer, as lawmakers raided money previously reservedfor park acquisition and agriculture preservation. About $50 million was taken from Program Open Space, he said.

"Other than that, nothing really bad happened," he said. "But we didn't make any real progress either."

The feud that developed between lawmakers and the governor made national news. That's how Delegate John Astle, D-Annapolis, followed events. A colonel in the Marine Reserves, the former House delegationchairman went on active duty in February as part of Operation DesertStorm.

"From outside the state of Maryland, it didn't look like agood one (session)," said Astle, stationedin Quantico, Va. "My mother in West Virginia even called me to ask what was going on."

The county's delegation fared well, considering the tight budget, lawmakers said.

Anne Arundel Community College will not receive the $2 million it sought to build a $10.4 million allied health building at thecampus.

Although the House approved money for the new classrooms,the Senate balked because the request came from outside the normal process laid out for community colleges.

College officials, who estimate the school serves one out of seven county residents, were disappointed by the news.

The legislature awarded money to several Annapolis projects, including three historical renovations and a new parking garage. It approved:

* $2 million to help the Annapolis government finance the Gotts Court garage.

* $200,000 to continue restoration of the home of John Carroll, one of four Marylanders who signed the Declaration of Independence.

* $100,000 to repair a faulty roof at Hammond-Harwood House.

* $50,000 to restore the exterior ofthe Capt. Salem Avery House in Shady Side.

"It could always be worse," County Executive Robert R. Neall, himself a former delegate, said of the session.

"They could have to do it all over again."

HOW ANNE ARUNDEL LAWMAKERS VOTED ON TAXES, ABORTION AND GUN CONTROL

Lawmaker....$95 million tax on..$11.6... .Guarantee..Assault

(District) ..cigarettes, snacks..Billion..Abortion...Weapons

... ... .. ..and capital gains.. Budget...Rights.....Ban

Astle (30)...*... ...... ... ...*... ....*... .. ...*

Athey (32)..Yea... ... .. ... ...Yea......Nay .... ..Nay

Bissett (30).Nay.... ... .. .....Nay... ..+... .. ...Nay

Busch (30).. Yea... ... .. ... ..Yea.. ...Yea.. ....Yea

Cadden (30)..Yea.... .. .. .. ...Yea... ..Yea... ....Nay

Cade (33)... Nay.. .. .. .. .. ..Yea... ..Nay... ....No Senate vote

Fowler (29)..Nay.. .. .. .. .. ..Nay.. ...Nay... ....No Senate vote

Gary (33)....Nay.. ... .. ... ...Nay.. ...Nay... ....Yea

Huff(31)... Yea... ... .. .. ...Yea... ..Yea... ... Nay

Jimeno (31)..Nay... ... .. .. ...Yea.. ...Nay... ... No Senate vote

Kolodziejski(31)Didn't vote... Didn't vote..Nay... ..Nay

Owings (29A).Yea... ... .. ... ..Yea.. .. Nay... ... Nay

Perry (33). Didn't vote... .....Yea.. .. Nay.. .... Yea

Scannello (32) Yea... ... .. ....Yea... ..Didn't vote

Smith (33)...Nay.. .. .. .. .. ..Nay... ..Nay.. ....Yea

Sulin (32).. Yea.. ... .. .. ... Yea.. ...Nay.. .. ..Yea

Wagner (32)..Yea.. .. ... .. ... Yea... ..Nay.... ...No Senate vote

Winegrad (30) Nay... ... ... ... Nay... ..Yea.. .. ..No Senate vote

* Delegate John Astle, D-Annapolis, was called up by the U.S. Marines and excused from voting.

* Delegate Phillip Bissett, R-Mayo,was appointed after the Feb. 18 abortion vote.

@ Delegate PatrickC. Scannello, D-Glen Burnie, was ill and excused from voting.

Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park, voted against the assault weapon ban in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which defeated the bill.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.