PRINCE GEORGE'S is suffering from an outbreak of guerrilla warfare in Annapolis. It's going on between County Executive Parris Glendening and the Prince George's delegation in the state legislature. And though there's no requirement that all be sweetness and light between Upper Marlboro and Annapolis, the tension certainly isn't doing the county's taxpayers any good.
A case in point: The other day Mr. Glendening and assorted aides arrived in the state capital to drum up support for an 11th-hour tax proposal. It would give the county authority to tax commercial use of energy and fuel. That's not a revolutionary idea; other jurisdictions all around Greater Washington as well as Maryland's larger counties have the authority to impose such a tax. Mr. Glendening has talked about this approach for some time.
But when he presented it formally to the members of the county's legislative delegation, they rolled their eyes, mumbled about the lateness of the legislative hour and rejected the proposal. So much for that energy tax, at least for this session. For the record, opponents of the tax measure argued that the proposal not only came late in the session but also was untimely for another reason: the county only recently modified its TRIM property-tax revenue ceiling. Besides, said some lawmakers, there had been no public hearing.
Mr. Glendening insists that he waited to ask for the bill because he was seeking a consensus within the delegation and it never developed. He also cites a letter sent by the county's state senators to various civic organizations and constituents that implied that the legislators couldn't press for more aid because Mr. Glendening hadn't provided a vehicle.
Whatever the case, approval of Mr. Glendening's proposal in Annapolis still would provide for ample public review since it merely would enable the county council to act if it saw fit. As for the charge of tardiness, there is nothing to prevent the delegation from pushing the measure.
More important than this immediate matter is the state of relations between Mr. Glendening and the delegation. If personal differences are allowed to overshadow legislative substance, the county as a whole is likely to suffer. Unless the county gets its act together in Annapolis, the attention and support it seeks from other delegations may wither.