'TIS TIME for 1997 predictions. On the Maryland scene, count on lots of politics, lots of shots at the governor and lots of tax-cut talk. Here is a preview, courtesy of our local Nostradamus:
Jan. 15: Gov. Parris Glendening surprises legislature with plan to cut income tax 15 percent and give $1 billion to state's schools. There's plenty of room for it all, he says, in a $15 billion budget.
Jan. 16: General Assembly leaders call governor's plan "preposterous." House Speaker Casper Taylor says he's disgusted, and files for governor with own tax plan -- a 20 percent cut paid by legalizing "tip-jars" statewide.
Feb. 1: State Chamber of Commerce derides governor for his "piddling" tax cut. "It's practically anti-business," sniffs a CEO.
Feb. 15: Governor raises tax cut to 25 percent and adds $500 million for pay raises. Then he calls for a czar to oversee "smart" land-use bill. Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger denounces this "meddling" by filing for governor.
March 1: Chamber of Commerce complains of governor's "wimpy" response. It demands end to the income tax: "Anything less is anti-business."
March 15: House passes "brownfields" bill to recycle industrial sites; Senate vote delayed when Brian Frosh, D-Environment, chains himself to door in protest. When TV cameraman tells him there are two doors into chamber, Mr. Frosh unlocks his shackles and admits defeat.
April 1: Governor announces 30 percent tax cut -- and $500 million for colleges: "Heck, that $15 billion budget gushes money."
April 7: Legislature kills governor's tax plan, calling it "impossibly preposterous." It passes status-quo budget, then leaves town.
April 8: Chamber of Commerce denounces governor's "phony" tax cuts. Chamber leaders applaud GOP candidate Ellen Sauerbrey's "improved" tax plan -- a 40 percent cut.
April 9: Robert R. Neall resigns his Senate seat, saying "this is a circus." His friends persuade him, though, to walk down the street and file for governor.
May 1: Harford County Executive Eileen Rehrmann announces she's had it with Mr. Glendening's posturing, and files for governor.
May 15: Orioles owner Peter Angelos demands "parity" with new Ravens football stadium. He wants the state to pay for a 70,000-seat Oriole Park.
June 1: Governor claims he has "seen the light" and will place slot machines in Prince George's County fire stations -- by executive order. This will pay for a 50 percent tax cut.
June 2: Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, says "P.G. is ruining P.G." He then files for governor.
June 3: Jack Kent Cooke asks for "parity" -- as much money as Mr. Angelos gets. He refuses to tell governor what he'll do with it.
June 5: Chamber of Commerce urges governor to "get serious" about "real" tax cuts, and applauds Ms. Sauerbrey's latest proposal -- a 60 percent tax cut.
June 6: Howard County Executive Chuck Ecker says he's had it with Ellen Sauerbrey's pandering, and files for governor.
June 15: Football owner Art Modell says he deserves a piece of the action -- a domed stadium.
June 16: Mr. Cooke says he wants one of those, too.
June 17: Horse-track owner Joe De Francis asks for domes over Pimlico and Laurel.
July 1: Governor announces "smart" tax-cut plan -- a 70 percent reduction, plus $2 billion for domes over all sports venues. "I'll pay for it with a few casinos in Baltimore and Rockville," he says.
Another county heard from
July 2: Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan claims Glendening plan will ruin his county. He files for governor.
Aug. 1: Ellen Sauerbrey announces a "model" tax-cut plan of 90 percent: "We'll just cut deeper into that $15 billion budget."
Aug. 15: Rep. Bob Ehrlich, saying he can't take it any longer, announces he will run simultaneously for governor and senator. No sweat, he says: He'll 'copter between the two towns.
Sept. 1: Anne Arundel County Executive John Gary calls for "real" leadership, then files for governor.
Sept. 15: Mr. Glendening says he has found a way to cut income taxes 100 percent -- sports wagering at casinos in Cambridge, Catonsville, Cape St. Claire, Calverton, Crofton and Columbia.
Sept. 16: Lt. Gov. Kathleen Townsend resigns in protest -- and files for governor.
Oct. 1: Chamber of Commerce says it won't support a governor who "plays games with numbers." It unveils a study showing casinos are "a dying industry."
Oct. 15: Ellen Sauerbrey calls Mr. Glendening "a piker" and demands a 125 percent tax cut. "You've just got to chop away at that $15 billion budget."
Nov. 1: Mr. Glendening notes new revenue estimates show casinos bringing in enough to give Maryland a $20 billion budget; so he's backing a 150 percent tax cut.
Nov. 2: Mayor Kurt Schmoke says he's "had it" with the governor's games. Baltimore, he claims, hasn't gotten its fair share of casinos; so he's running for governor.
Nov. 15: Rep. Ben Cardin admits he can't stop laughing, and that he's still considering a run for governor. His decision deadline: the turn of the century.
Dec. 1: Ellen Sauerbrey unveils her "final offer" -- a 200 percent tax cut. "Anything higher would be irresponsible."
Dec. 15: Governor says, "Guess what? I found $1 billion of funny money in Louie Goldstein's closet -- enough for a 250 percent tax cut. We hit the jackpot!"
Dec. 24: Mr. Angelos announces 70,000 seats won't make Orioles profitable. He raises ticket prices 300 percent, denounces Mr. Glendening and files for governor.
Dec. 31: Public Safety Secretary Bishop Robinson declares martial law and arrests all gubernatorial candidates and business leaders. "Our long nightmare is over," he says. "Let's hope the New Year brings sanity to our state."
Barry Rascovar is deputy editorial-page editor of The Sun. Pub Date: 12/29/96