The General Assembly also faces a likely donnybrook over transportation spending, including an O'Malley proposal to apply the 6 percent sales tax to gasoline. House Speaker Michael E. Busch says there isn't much chance for a transportation revenue bill unless it receives solid support from lawmakers in Prince George's, Montgomery County and Baltimore.
Baker said he'll urge county lawmakers to cast a "tough vote" on gas taxes but only if he's assured that part of the money will be directed toward county transit priorities such as the $1.9 billion Purple Line, a proposed light rail line between Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
"If we're going to bring the votes to the table, the money has to flow back to the ones making the sacrifices," Baker said. "If the numbers work out for us, we can deliver."
If dealing with a $120 million local budget shortfall, demands from the Senate president for a new casino and the hospital deal weren't enough, Prince George's residents are also looking to Baker to restore the image of a county that was burdened by corruption and feelings of disrespect even before Johnson's arrest.
Del. Dereck E. Davis, a Prince George's Democrat, says Baker has an important asset.
"His integrity is unquestioned," Davis said. "And as we navigate going forward, that really is key."