Sunday, June 11, 2006

Invite Ehrlich to the Table

The Baltimore Sun confirmed today that the Democratic-controlled legislature has not invited Ehrlich staff members to attend working sessions charged with coming up with a plan to combat the 72 percent BGE rate increase.

Not only is this unfair, its also bad lawmaking. The Republican governor has remained silent on the possibility of vetoing solutions he finds unpalatable, but COS DePaula has hinted that vetos are certainly possible. If Ehrlich is not given a seat at the negotiating table, he will be more inclined to veto whatever the Democrats hash out.

Legislative leaders could bet on avoiding a veto by putting all of the different proposals into one package. That way, if Governor Ehrlich opposes a measure to, for example, fire the current members of the Public Service Commission, vetoing the plan would also require him to veto other proposals that could result in lower rates. And, with reelection looming in November, Ehrlich does not want to be in the position of standing against better rates for BGE customers.

Even with such a tactic, there is no certainty Ehrlich will refrain from a veto. If he goes through with it, nobody would benefit: not the politicians in the next election, not Central Marylanders this summer. By inviting Ehrlich's people to at least get involved in the negotiating process, the administration will feel they at least have a stake in seeing a successful package emerge. And that would benefit everyone.

from The League: Reassembled


Blogger OnBackground said...

Yeah, but do you invite him to the real meeting in an effort to really include him but also giving him a chance of either scuttling the deal or claiming credit, or do you just bring him to a quiet discussion that makes him feel like he had a say but won't let him get in the way?

While I agree that the governor needs to be part of the solution, I promise you that both sides are at least as worried about how this works in November as they are about the utility bills.

6/13/2006 10:56:00 AM  

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