A dropped line in a column yesterday by Maryland House Majority Leader Donald B. Robertson caused a mistake in a description of proposals likely to come before the legislature. The sentence should have read: "Most of the 'discretionary' additional revenues are likely to be consumed by the S&L fund, a "rainy day" fund (also expected to be in the neighborhood of $50 million) demanded by the bond rating houses to preserve Maryland's AAA rating, a modest pay raise for state employees and an urgently needed increase in welfare payments."
THE VIRGINIA General Assembly session that starts today will eventually have to face up to some serious fiscal business. But true to form in Virginia, the transition from one administration to another -- even this time -- will be gradual, if for no other reason than the financial timetable that gives Gov. Robb another two-year budget to propose. Besides, the new team in town is not really new: Gerald Baliles, L. Douglas Wilder and Mary Sue Terry are hardly strangers to the legislative branch.
And however the new governor chooses to make his mark, the lawmakers already have their own agenda. It starts with transportation and ends in all likelihood with some old-fashioned regional scrapping between the rurals and the urbans. As State Sen. Clive Duval notes on the op-ed page, Northern Virginia legislators have designs on some of the budget greenery to finance sorely needed road improvements and to keep Virginia's faith with Metro.
But you can bet your Farecard that representatives from less populated parts of the state won't greet these efforts without demanding a price. Call it a deal or a "sophisticated alliance," but if agreements are to be struck, some smooth negotiaters will have to emerge; one of the best last year -- Del. Vivian Watts of Fairfax -- will be working another bloc, as a cabinet member.
Education, too, will generate some sectional jockeying for big dollars. For that matter, the only great contest of intramural generosity comes when it's time to talk prisons -- every legislator will gladly accord these franchises to any place but home.
While their counterparts in Richmond are rearranging the political furniture for a new administration, members of the Maryland General Assembly will be waving goodbye to theirs -- they will be facing elections for a new governor, a new legislature and many local offices. As House Majority Leader Donald B. Robertson notes on the op-ed page, the legislative session that begins today will be the last one under the current management -- and will operate in an unusual atmosphere created by the savings and loan crisis.
Gov. Harry Hughes will have his hands full -- looking for ways to win applause from voters for fixing what happened on his watch. Nothing right now indicates any great political benefits for the governor; on the contrary, his stock seems to have been falling. But revenue estimates so far look good and -- given time and some help from the legislature -- enough good things could emerge to redirect public attention.
Beyond the S&L troubles, the list of concerns in Annapolis is not all that different from those in Richmond: transportation, education, the Chesapeake Bay and prisons. The big difference in Maryland will be the distractions of financial and political shakeups in 1986 -- and nobody's quite sure where that may take the cast of characters in order of their disappearance.