Carroll County Times Opinion

Transitions shift priorities

Transitions can be tricky. The adjustment from elementary school to middle school can be challenging for many students. Shifting from singleness to married life has major potential for both rewards and pitfalls.

Our new commissioner board has moved from transition into governing. I'm not sure we'll know too much about the practical impact of the new members until we get into the formal budget process that they will likely begin early next year.


Gov.-elect Larry Hogan is well into his transition process. Some press accounts would indicate this process is going well. For example, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Hogan recently toured the governor's home with one another's families.

On the other hand, two print reports which covered Hogan meeting with five Republican county executives stressed some of the more challenging elements of his efforts.


Michael Dresser writing for the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, emphasized the budget woes that the O'Malley administration is leaving for Hogan. In a news conference after his closed door meeting with the county executives, the Hogan noted the state faced a $900 million revenue shortfall for the next two years.

Hogan expressed the view that, "We've maxed out all the credit cards. We've drained all the savings accounts. We've broken the kids' piggy banks. We have no money left."

He pledged to make "tough decisions" to get the budget in order, and suggested the current administration had failed to make such decisions for the last eight years.

Hogan also complained of O'Malley attempting to take too many actions in his final weeks. One example was a "questionable land deal" relating to a Kent County farm. "I've never seen an administration so active in their final days," Hogan said.

Another story from this press conference, written by John Wagner for The Washington Post, was headlined "Hogan knocks Maryland's departing governor for 'midnight hour' decisions."

Hogan told reporters that, "I'm very opposed to all of these important decisions being made in the midnight hour of this administration." He shared his view that it was a mistake for the departing Democratic administration to enact controversial additional rules aimed at curbing pollution from farms.

Hogan also expressed distress over recent rules that could be too restrictive of hydraulic fracturing of drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland. He called this drilling "an economic gold mine" that had been over-studied.

The incoming Republican indicated that the outgoing administration has put out 50 proposed regulations since last month's election.


On Monday, Hogan spoke to the Maryland Farm Bureau according to the Post report. At that meeting, he "vowed to weaken or reverse the rules put forward by O'Malley that would curtail the widespread use of poultry manure as fertilizer on Eastern Shore farms."

Hogan's meeting with county executives also included a discussion on combating heroin addiction and deaths. He's announced plans to declare a state of emergency on this issue and create a task force to determine the causes of the steady rate of overdoses across our state.

In Carroll, we are very familiar with the emphasis the late State's Attorney Jerry Barnes made in countering heroin in our county.

The Post story also shared Hogan's commitment to insist that the next General Assembly repeal legislation that required 10 counties to impose a stormwater management tax on property owners. Campaigning against what's become known as the "rain tax" was a central feature of his campaign.

"I don't think the state should be in the business of forcing tax increases on local governments," Hogan said.

The commissioner board, the new General Assembly and the new administration will definitely be in my prayers as they wrestle with potentially conflicting priorities.


Michael Zimmer writes from Eldersburg. His column appears on Fridays. Email him at