Board Docs - Feb 03, 2015 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting
[10:20 a.m.] Briefing: Ocelot Street/Old McDaniel Road Construction Update (Mr. Jason Groth, Chief of Resource and Infrastructure Managment)
METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
A new Maryland tax credit dubbed “Endow Maryland” will reward donors who help build permanent charitable funds for local communities across the state, including Southern Maryland. Endow Maryland is modeled after successful initiatives established by community foundations across the nation.
Starting January 1, 2015, Endow Maryland offers a tax credit for gifts of at least $500 to permanent, endowed funds at qualified community foundations, such as the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland. Qualified donors may receive a 25 percent tax credit on their 2015 Maryland state tax return as an incentive to encourage Maryland residents to give back to their local communities in a meaningful and lasting way. The Endow Maryland tax credit, which is designed to promote charitable giving in Maryland, for Maryland, applies only to gifts to permanent, endowed funds held at your local community foundation—those that will generate many times the initial value of the gift to benefit the community.
Of course, we made this stuff up. But why shouldn’t we assume the worst? When the county, offering a tortured interpretation of the Maryland Public Information Act, declines to release the emails and text messages council members traded when they were making their first big post-election decision — picking the next council chairman — what else should we do?
Moreover, why shouldn’t voters assume the worst? Do the council members think anyone will pay attention to the explanations about maintaining “a trust factor among the councilmen”? The obvious explanation for sitting on these records is that there are embarrassing remarks in there.
As it is, we are indebted to two councilmen — Chris Trumbauer and Pete Smith — for releasing messages on their own after the county Office of Law told them they didn’t have to. Messages from Michael Peroutka and Andrew Pruski were released by the county. This let us present excerpts from the discussion in reporter Rema Rahman’s story last week. But we can’t be sure big pieces of the jigsaw puzzle aren’t missing. New Council Chairman Jerry Walker and Derek Fink refused to release their messages and John Grasso said his had been deleted before the Dec. 3 request.
Not since Alexander Graham Bell twisted pairs of wires together in the 1870s has the simple telephone technology that has served Americans for generations — the landline — faced such a threat to its existence.
It’s not just that droves of customers are dropping their home phones for cellphones, or switching to newer, fiber-based services such as Verizon’s FiOS network. Major telecom companies have made no secret of their desire to abandon the traditional, copper wire-based phone service.
AT&T wants to complete the switch within five years. Verizon, the dominant landline provider in Maryland, hasn’t set a date.
Speaking at a UCLA symposium on human trafficking Friday, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris talked about how the state’s broken foster care system is contributing to the problem.
“Human trafficking is not a monolith. There are many components,” Harris said, adding that “of all the discrete parts contributing to our concern about human trafficking, our foster care system is a big one…. The foster care system in California is not working.”
During her address, Harris said that 59% of children arrested on prostitution-related charges in L.A. County spent time in the foster care system.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an interview on Friday the United States might eventually need to send non-combat ground troops to Iraq to help turn back Islamic State forces.
Hagel, who announced his resignation under pressure in November, told CNN all options must be considered in Iraq, including sending troops for non-combat roles such as gathering intelligence and locating Islamic State targets.
“I think it may require a forward deployment of some of our troops ...,” he said. “I would say we’re not there yet. Whether we get there or not, I don’t know.”
President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Friday directing federal, state and local agencies to incorporate projections for sea level rise in planning and construction along the coasts.
The new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard requires that all federally funded projects located in floodplains, including buildings and roads, be built to withstand flooding. The requirement, the White House said in a release Friday, would “reduce the risk and cost of future flood disasters” and “help ensure federal projects last as long as intended.”
“It is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and Federal assets against the impacts of flooding,” the order states. “These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.”
A federal judge expressed skepticism Friday about the constitutionality of the government’s no-fly list, suggesting that those who find themselves on it ought to be allowed a meaningful opportunity to clear their names.
The lawsuit challenging the no-fly list, filed by Alexandria resident Gulet Mohamed, has been winding its way through federal court for four years, and U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga has consistently rejected government efforts to get the suit tossed out.
The federal health law was intended to keep a surprise illness or injury from bankrupting Americans. It authorized states to expand eligibility for Medicaid and created online insurance markets where others without employer coverage can buy plans, with federal subsidies available. When calling for the law’s passage, President Obama declared people shouldn’t “go broke because they get sick.”
But the Affordable Care Act hasn’t eliminated the problem. In 2013, medical debt was the largest cause of personal bankruptcy — 1.7 million people lived in households experiencing bankruptcy because of health costs. Many states haven’t expanded Medicaid and even those with insurance can rack up big bills, a problem exacerbated by the growing number of plans with high deductibles.
Baby Boomers and others receiving Social Security payments now have a new option if they lose some tax paperwork.
The Social Security Administration is kicking off a service that allows recipients to instantly view a replacement SSA-1099 online at www.socialsecurity.gov. The tax filer could print out that form and use it to prepare taxes. Form SSA-1099 is sent in January to those receiving Social Security benefits. It shows total benefits received for the previous year and is needed to file taxes.
Social Security receives 1.7 million requests each year for replacement forms. About 62.5 million tax-related forms are mailed out by Social Security. These include 1099s and the SSA-1042S for non-citizens living outside of the United States.
Drivers, bring your vehicles back to the shop for more work on faulty air bags.
The government says more than 2 million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles need a second fix for air bags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running.
The recall includes some Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Avalon models made from 2002 to 2004.