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Annapolis's Official Vote Canvas, Mizeur Proposes Lower Income Taxes, & A Cougar In Harford?

mdfriendofhillary via flickr

The official vote canvas for Annapolis's mayoral race begins at 9 Thursday morning. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur proposes lowering income taxes for most Marylanders. A cougar sighting has been reported in Harford County. And more.Annapolis Mayoral Race: Annapolis’s official vote canvas gets underway this morning… and once it’s done, we could know who’ll be mayor of the state’s capitol for the next four years. Unofficial results from Tuesday’s vote puts Republican challenger Mike Pantelides 84 votes ahead of incumbent Democratic Mayor Josh Cohen. But votes still need to be counted from a voting machine that broke down… as well absentee ballots, more than 300 of which were sent out. The Capital Gazette reports that todays’ official vote canvas starts at 9am at Annapolis’s old Rec Center at 9 St. Mary’s Street; it’s open to the public. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.

Mizeur On Income Taxes, Minimum Wage: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur says that she’ll work to reduce income taxes for most Marylanders if she’s elected next year. Mizeur’s campaign tells the Washington Post that she wants to alter our state’s existing income tax brackets in a way that’ll result in lower income taxes for about 90 percent of taxpayers. She’ll fund the change by having high income-earners pay more; the Baltimore Sun reports that Mizeur wants to increase the state’s top marginal tax rate for individuals making more than a half million dollars a year or joint filers making more than $550-thousand annually. The income tax changes are part of a broader economic proposal from the Montgomery County Delegate… which also addresses property taxes, infrastructure improvements, and public school construction. Mizeur is also calling for a higher minimum wage in Maryland, a call also being made by the two other Democrats running for their party’s gubernatorial nomination: Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and state Attorney General Doug Gansler. A recent public opinion poll conducted by Goucher College indicates that nearly three quarters of Maryland residents are in favor of upping the state’s minimum wage.

Governor’s Race Name Recognition: That Goucher College survey of Maryland residents also examines name recognition in the governor’s race – and in that contest, Brown’s got the lead, with name recognition at around 62 percent. Gansler follows, with about 58 percent, and Mizeur trails with about 13 percent name recognition. Democratic 2nd District Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who hasn’t entered the governor’s race but says he’s eyeing a bid, had a name recognition rate of 49 percent. On the Republican side of the race, Harford County Executive David Craig leads at 31-percent name recognition, followed by Charles Lollar and Delegate Ron George at 23-percent and 22-percent, respectively. More analysis of the poll – which touches on several other issues – is available here from marylandreporter.com.

Could It Be A Cougar? There could be a cougar in Harford County. Officials in Abingdon are on alert after a 911 call came in early yesterday morning reporting the sighting of a “cougar or mountain lion.” Crews were sent to the area but county officials tell the Baltimore Sun there were no signs of any wild animals. There’s no confirmation that mountain lions or panthers live in Harford, but claims of sightings there crop up every couple years. The only big cat with established populations in Maryland is the bobcat – weighing in at around 30 pounds, bobcats are about 5 times smaller than cougars.

Tobacco Tax: Saving Two Birds With One Stone Maryland’s most effective citizen legislators are preparing for another foray into the anti-tax atmosphere in Annapolis. WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.

Attorney General Candidates’ Forum: The four Democrats running to be Maryland’s next attorney general are expected to appear tonight at a candidates forum at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law. State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegates Aisha Braveboy, Jon Cardin, and Bill Frick have been invited. No Republicans have entered the race as of yet; when the Democratic incumbent Doug Gansler ran for AG four years ago, he was unopposed in the general election. The Baltimore Sun notes that democrats have held the state Attorney General’s post for more than half a century.

MD Hospital Rates Likely To Remain Unchanged: Maryland hospital rates will likely remain the same for the first six months of next year… under a draft recommendation made yesterday by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. The panel usually decides a full year ahead for the fiscal year that starts in July. But this year, it held a mid-year review is because of a payment system that's changing. A final decision on rates will be made next month. The Baltimore Sun notes that the Maryland Hospital Association, CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare agree with the Commission that rates should remain unchanged. There’s more here from the Baltimore Business Journal.

Baltimore Homicides: The city of Baltimore is rapidly approaching 200 homicides this year. Baltimore recorded number 199 last night when a man was shot in the head and killed in West Baltimore. Two years ago the number of homicides for the whole year was 197. That was higher than the year before… and the Baltimore Sun notes that the city’s homicide rate has continued to increase this year.

Kiefaber Accuses Conway Of Assault: Baltimore state Senator Joan Carter Conway is being accused of assault by former owner of the Senator Theatre Tom Kiefaber. The incident allegedly occurred last week outside Kiefaber's former home on Orkney Road as it was being auctioned. Kiefaber was recording video of the confrontation with Conway, and says she pushed the camera away before walking off.  Kiefaber has filed a second-degree assault charge against Conway, and the state's attorney's office will decide whether to prosecute.  The Baltimore Sun reports that a court date has been set for December 19th.

BWI Ticket Prices Drop: The cost of a flight out BWI Airport is below the national average… and ticket prices have dropped over the last year, by some 7 and a half percent. Ticket prices nationwide are also down – but the average decline from the second quarter of 2012 was 3.6 percent, making BWI’s 7.5 percent decline more than twice the national average. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that 85 airports around the country have higher domestic ticket prices than BWI does.

Blimp Returns To Region’s Skies: The Navy’s aerial mapping blimp will soon be seen over the Baltimore region once again. The Baltimore Sun reports that the blimp’s going back up next week, launching out of Beltsville, and will be hover over parts of Maryland through November 25th, when it’ll come back down in St. Mary’s County.

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WYPR's Morning Edition news anchor Ashley Sterner serves up the latest Maryland news and weather every weekday morning, delightfully interspersed with the occasional snarky comment.