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Five (Or So) Questions for Liz Bobo

Delegate Bobo talks taxes, gay marriage and Wegmans.

Delegate Liz Bobo, 68, of Columbia, sat down Monday with Patch at to answer questions on Columbia, Howard County, and the General Assembly.  Bobo is a Democrat who represents District 12B in Howard County. She chairs the Land Use and Ethics Subcommittee.

Patch: What do you think of Gov. O’Malley’s plan to close Maryland’s $1.1 billion deficit? He’s talked about , increasing gas taxes, as well as taxes on the wealthy.

Del. Bobo: I respect him coming forward with concrete suggestions. So I’m going to start with something he didn’t do – we still have some significant loopholes in tax paying in our state code. One of which is called combined reporting-- we allow multi-state corporations who do business in Maryland to file their taxes related to profits they make in Maryland in Delaware--and avoid paying substantial amounts of revenue into the Maryland coffers. Last year the bill was in. It’s in again this year. Mid-sized business owners said, ‘Look, you keep telling us …. that small and medium-sized business is the backbone of economy. This loophole is hurting us.’”

What do you think of the proposal to shift part of school pension costs to counties to close the deficit?

I hope we find another way. The main reason is because I don’t believe we value teachers in our culture proportionate to the trust we place in them to teach our kids, and I believe that teachers will be hurt if that shift takes place.

On increasing [taxes] for people in top of income scale, I would be in that income scale. We would make that cut—I’d be pleased to be able to pay that. It’s not that much money.

What about increasing the gas tax?

Gas tax is tougher. I was publicly on record supporting it five years ago. Now, I’m afraid there are people so close to the brink… if they have to travel, I think that increase could put them over the edge. I’m not as quick to say yes to the gas tax that I was five years ago. I know that means I have to go for something else.

Do you think O’Malley’s proposal to legalize same-sex marriage will pass?

I very much want to see that pass. I think there’s a chance. I don’t feel certain about it. People feel very strongly about it. The way I see it, is that whenever there’s any kind of discrimination against anyone, …. I believe we’re all at risk, as long as we make decisions in that way.

Finally, on the local side: What is the biggest issue in Howard County right now you you don’t think is being addressed?

Howard County needs to be aware of where we are positionally – all of this BRAC development heading this way. I don’t know if we have much of a clue of the amount of traffic that’s going to be generated here. It’s real and I don’t think we’re prepared.

Don’t forget, .

I think Wegmans is wonderful too, but we say we want to be a pedestrian, bike-friendly county. I think we‘re suffering a little schizophrenia in this county. Who’s going to bike to Wegmans?

hmj February 01, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Good interview. No new taxes until you clean up the fraud and abuse in Maryland welfare programs. Here are a 2 more questions for Liz Bobo: 1) The is a high fraud / error rate in the Earned Income Tax Credit Program. About 25% of the credits paid out are to people that are not eiligible. This costs Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars every year ( as well as the federal government). What will you do to stop the fraud and abuse in this credit program? 2) There is about a 9% improper payment rate in the Medicaid Program. This costs Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars every year. What will you do to stop the fraud and abuse? Thanks
Cindy Stacy February 01, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Believe we can live with all O'Malley's proposals -- except any hike in the gas tax! For those like me who live in Garrett County, a part of state where great distances require lots of driving just to reach a grocery store or doctor's office, we can't afford gas at $4 a gallon. We've passed this plea to our state representatives too.
MG42 February 01, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Gasoline is already taxed. Baby food is not taxed at all, and people with kids use more tax services (see teacher pension costs). How about we tax baby food? Better yet, drop a "per child" tax on parents to pay the teacher pension costs. Everybody seems to recognize that education is expensive- except parents. They simply want to pass the bill onto someone else.
bill bissenas February 01, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Bobo is one of the premier socialists from Howard County. She sees no limit to property confiscation for the purpose of satisfying her good intentions.
Randall Hall February 01, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Those of us who are without jobs and facing a tough economy need help far more than the proponents of same-sex marriage. Get the economy and job rate back to what they used to be before worrying about a social issue.
Lorraine Kelly February 02, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Randall, voting for equal rights has nothing to do with being without a job. By the way, I lost my job 1 1/2 years ago.
Randall Hall February 02, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Nothing to do with being without a job? Given a choice of the legislators spending their time on social issues or on improving the economy and bringing new jobs into the state, I'll take the latter any minute of any hour of any day of any week.
MG42 February 02, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Government is not likely to do anything to improve the economy. They are the ones that got us into this mess by borrowing too much and inflating the housing bubble via Fannie and Freddie. Furthermore, locally, Bobo is perhaps the only Democrat incumbent Howard County Executive to be beaten by a Republican challenger. Her poor management of the business climate was a major reason, I'm told.
Lorraine Kelly February 02, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Randall, I guess to me the question of equal rights for all is just a matter of voting..I am very much concerned about the economy and folks finding work. I just don't think the legislature, with a few exceptions, is spending much of their time on ER.
LRD February 02, 2012 at 05:32 PM
If gay marriage is legalized, think of all the extra weddings that will take place in the state. That's more jobs for caterers, florists, wedding planners, bands, etc.
Randall Hall February 02, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Well, when they put my home in foreclosure, I'll at least know that the legislature spent plenty of time on same-sex marriage. That should be comforting when I'm in the homeless shelter. And yes, government can help with jobs if they want to.
Lorraine Kelly February 02, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Randall, I truly hope your home is not put in foreclosure. I am just expressing something that I have felt should be taken gave of since I was in High School, many years ago. Please do not construe that I do not feel for you and all fellow Americans who are struggling. We all hope things will begin to improve. Our troops are home from Iraq, which was one of my priorities, with a son and nephew having both served long tours, and one of which has still not recovered from his brain injuries from almost 2 years ago. Let's get the rest of our troops home and concentrate on our own problems here in the US. Certainly the housing crisis is a big one. All the best.

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