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Editorial: Opportunity in change of leaders

Our board of county commissioners, which has been vocal in its opposition of some state laws and regulations, may find an easier time being heard at the state level with the appointment of Frederick Sen. David Brinkley as Republican leader and Carroll Sen. Joseph Getty as minority whip.
Brinkley took over for E.J. Pipkin, the outspoken Cecil County Republican who earlier this year announced that he was moving to Texas.
Prior to that, Pipkin gained a reputation for his propensity to challenge the Democratic majority, and he was a strong voice for Republicans who all too often in this state find themselves on the outside looking in.
Brinkley has experience as Senate leader, having served in that position from 2007 to 2008.
Both he and Getty served terms in the House of Delegates before getting elected to the Senate, and both have a lot of experience in finding ways to get their ideas, if not passed, then at least listened to by the Democratic majority.
Our county commissioners have spent a lot of our tax dollars on groups and organizations formed to oppose laws or regulations enacted by the legislature or pushed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. One of the biggest is the new tax on impervious surfaces, the so-called "rain tax," which Carroll and nine other jurisdictions must pay for stormwater management projects.
The high cost is putting some local governments in a tight budgetary bind, and lawmakers from both parties have already said they want to take another look at the tax and how it should be implemented in the next legislative session.
Improving the climate for business is also likely to be a priority in the coming session, and some Democratic lawmakers already have said they will push for increasing the state's minimum wage. Talk already is under way about possibly linking a reduction in the corporate tax to a hike in the minimum wage.
Whether it is looking for ways to reduce the local tax burden or seeking tax cuts to help bring in businesses, our board of county commissioners should sit down with Brinkley and Getty to talk about priorities and determine where each can help the other in making sure the voice of rural Maryland is heard in Annapolis.

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