Schaefer eyeing Oval Office?


Gov. William Donald Schaefer has told Democratic governors that he is considering running for president, but he did not tell them when, according to his spokesman.

Word of Schaefer's comments made the rounds throughout yesterday at the winter meeting of the National Governors' Association in Washington, said Paul Schurick, the governor's spokesman. "People were curious. The governor is well-liked among his colleagues."

Schaefer's remarks first came at a private breakfast with Democratic governors.

The event was closed to the press, but Schurick said the governor complained that the federal government had lost touch with the people.

"The governor expressed frustration over what he sees is a lot of posturing in the federal government . . . and losing sight of the need to help people," Schurick said.

Schaefer, who is restricted from running for a third term as Maryland's top elected official, did not specify when he might seek the national office, Schurick said.


The chairman of the gubernatorial commission that recommended restructuring Maryland's tax system has disclosed that his law firm represents Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., which stands to receive a $10 million tax reduction from his proposal.

R. Robert Linowes, who chaired the commission that recommended raising $800 million in new revenue through a variety of tax changes, said his law firm, Linowes and Blocher, represents C&P; in land-use matters. The commission advocated changes in telecommunications taxes that would result in a $10 million tax reduction for the utility, said Peter B. White, C&P; government relations director.

Linowes voluntarily disclosed his firm's linkage to C&P; in a Jan. 31 letter to state Sen. Laurence Levitan, D-Montgomery. Levitan questioned Linowes on the C&P; tax break during a hearing last week before the Budget and Taxation Committee, which Levitan chairs.

"I regret that I was not aware of this situation at the time of my appearance before your committee and as soon as this information was made available to me I wanted to immediately notify you of this situation . . ." Linowes wrote.

Public Service Commission Chairman Frank O. Heintz said that C&P;'s tax reduction would likely result in lower rates for phone customers. "Any changes in taxes would be a part of the rates. If the taxes go down, we would consider that in our rate-making decisions," Heintz said.


Despite claims to the contrary by the governor, the proposed budget he submitted last week to the Genral Assembly exceeds the recommended spending limits, according to the legislature's top fiscal adviser.

Schaefer traditionally has exceeded the spending affordability guidelines established by legislative leaders to restrict growth in outlays. In what has become an annual ritual, lawmakers have trimmed Schaefer's budget to meet the recommended spending cap.

Last week, Schaefer boasted in a statement that his proposed fiscal 1992 budget was nearly $100 million under the guidelines, which limit the growth in spending from one year to the next.

However, William S. Ratchford 2nd, the legislature's top budget analyst, said yesterday that his calculations put Schaefer's spending plan $39.4 million over the cap.

The difference is in how the current year's budget is calculated. Fiscal 1991's appropriations, used as a base for 1992's spending guidelines, had to be cut several times in recent months to meet declining growth in tax revenues. Schaefer does not include as many of these cuts as Ratchford in establishing the 1991 base year.

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