The good: Obama can tell his Democratic supporters from 2008 that he made good on his promise to pass a universal health-care law.
The bad: Republicans who were hoping the Supreme Court would strike down the law they often refer to as "ObamaCare" have a new reason to get their presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republicans running for Congress elected.
Louis Pope, a Fulton Republican who co-chairs Romney's campaign in Maryland, said many Republicans were surprised the Supreme Court did not throw out the entire health-care law.
"Having it rammed down their throats in this way will certainly excite the base and the Democrats as well who don't like Obama," he said.
Added Howard County Republican Party Chairwoman and Romney Del. Loretta Shields: "I think this opens up a big spot for Mitt Romney."
Both Shields and Pope noted the $4.6 million Romney raised in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court's decision as a sign of the opposition to the law and the support for electing Republicans who vow to repeal it.
"People are voting with their check books," Pope said.
Howard County Democratic Party Chairman Michael McPherson, meanwhile, said the Supreme Court's decision is a good thing for Obama.
"In the long run, I think people will realize that this is in their best interest, particularly those who need health care who don't have any or can't afford any," he said. "Even though there's a lot of hoopla out there about the legislation, you don't hear that from what I call the grassroots. You hear that from the professional politicians, the lobbyists from the health care companies, that sort of thing."
Regarding the money Romney has raised, McPherson said you have to look at the source.
"Romney's source of money is just a small group of people," he said. "Obama's source of money is across the board in small amounts."
After his unsuccessful attempt during the budget vote in May to lower the fire-tax rate increase and the contingency fund its revenues would produce, County Council member Greg Fox, a Fulton Republican, has come up with another way to limit the amount of fire-tax revenues the county can hold for an emergency.
Fox introduced a resolution July 2 to amend the section of the County Charter that addresses the budget and contingency reserves.
Currently, the charter states that the budget must include: "A statement of the proposed contingency reserves which shall not exceed three per centum of the general fund and of any other fund."
All departments have a contingency fund for emergencies and unanticipated expenses, most of which are funded with revenues from the county's General Fund. The Fire Department's contingency reserves are allocated from fire-tax revenues that are kept separate from the General Fund.
During this year's budget discussions, Fox argued that since the fire tax is a separate fund, it should have to abide by the 3-percent rule. However, the Office of Law, responding to a request from Fox, said the charter language is open to multiple interpretations.
Now, Fox is proposing to change the charter language to read that the budget must include: "A statement of the proposed contingency reserves for the general fund and each other fund which shall not exceed three per centum of each fund."
Fox said he believes the original charter language was intended to apply the 3-percent rule to each fund.
"I'm just making it so it can't be argued either way," he said. "It can only be argued the way it was intended."
The budget passed by the council in May predicted that the new fire-tax rate of 17.6 cents per $100 of assessed value will produce $78 million in revenues; and $15 million, or 19 percent, of that is to be put in contingency.
Given that the four Democrats on the council voted for that budget and rejected Fox's arguments for limiting the fire-tax increase, it's unlikely they would support Fox's charter amendment. However, Fox feels strongly about getting it passed and put on the November ballot for voters to decide.
"Government shouldn't be sitting on the taxpayers' money when they don't need it," he said. "It's just an invitation to spend more."
A public hearing on his resolution is scheduled for July 16, at 7:30 p.m. A vote is scheduled for July 26, at 4:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the George Howard Building, in Ellicott City.