State treasurer says climate change could hurt state economy

State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

Climate change negatively affects supply chains — reducing productivity and causing a rise in production costs — and ought to be a serious concern among businesses in Maryland.

That was the message delivered by state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, who participated in a conference call detailing a report released by advocacy groups Ceres, Oxfam America and Bethesda-based business Calvert Investments. The companies commissioned a report that details the importance of businesses disclosing physical climate risks to investors.

As one of many examples, the report cites Baltimore-based Under Armour‘s expectation that its 2012 net revenues will “come in at the low-end of its long-term growth target.” The lesser growth rate is due to the sports apparel company selling less gear than expected during an unseasonably warm winter.

The report says the apparel, agriculture, food and beverage, tourism, oil and gas, electric power, mining and insurance sectors are all impacted by climate change.

Kopp said she was glad the report made clear “how vulnerable we are to the effects of global warning,” especially in Maryland, where farming is the state’s largest commercial industry.

The state is especially vulnerable to sea level rise, she said, which is also important when considering it in context of the the tourism industry.

“Tourism’s important to our economy,” Kopp said. “We rely … on the shoreline to bring people to the Atlantic shore and the [Chesapeake] Bay.”

Read the full report here.

Eye Opener: Legislature forms Pit Bull task force

In The Daily Record today, read about state and local officials threatening to shut down East Baltimore Development Inc.

Meanwhile, in Montgomery County, a pair of neighboring cities are in a battle to attract business to their jurisdictions.

Here’s a few other headlines pulled from the Web:

Money rolls in for same-sex marriage petition drive

A group opposed to Maryland’s law allowing same-sex marriages says it has gathered 122,000 voter signatures, more than double the number of signatures needed to petition the law to a voter referendum.

But those signatures didn’t come free.

More than $70,000 was spent on the petition drive, $25,000 of which came in cash from the National Organization for Marriage, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that is opposed to gay marriage.

According to an e-mail from Marylanders for Marriage Equality — the group working to promote Maryland’s new law ahead of the expected referendum this fall — the national group also contributed $58,000 in in-kind donations to Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group organizing the petition drive.

Both sides are expected to continue to raise large sums of money as the question is likely put to voters this fall.

Josh Levin, the campaign manager for Marylanders for Maryland Equality, wrote last month in Baltimore Gay Life – a twice-monthly publication of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore — that the campaign to uphold the law, passed by the General Assembly in February, “will cost millions.”

Eye Opener: The Maryland Live! labyrinth

If you haven’t seen The Daily Record‘s photo slide show of the new Maryland Live! casino in Hanover, take a look.

After getting a tour yesterday afternoon, it seems like it will be hard to resist visiting the casino after it officially opens to taste the food in its buffet and test the realism of electronic table games.

Of course, I’ll have to be careful not to get lost in the labyrinth of bright lights.

Here’s a few other headlines this morning:

Eye Opener: Same-sex marriage petition signatures revealed today

I’m in Hanover today to take a quick tour of the Maryland Live! casino, set to open next week. Comment here and let me know what you want me to keep an eye out for.

I’ll try not to lose my whole paycheck in one outing.

Here’s a few headlines around the state this morning:

Cordish: Maryland Live! won’t hurt Hollywood Casino for long

David Cordish at The Cordish Cos. office in Baltimore. (Photo: Maximilian Franz)

A few items didn’t make it into today’s story about what developer David Cordish called an oversaturated casino market in Maryland.

Stephen L. Martino, director of the Maryland State Lottery Agency, said casino business is already starting to overlap. When Maryland Live! opens on June 6, Martino said business at Hollywood Casino Perryville is expected to lapse by 20 to 25 percent.

But Cordish doesn’t think the problem at Perryville will be a permanent one.

“I would be very surprised if, after the first three months, we have had a significant impact on Perryville,” Cordish said. During its first three months, a casino is going to attract lots of customers because it is new, he said, but eventually that levels off and stabilizes.

Cordish opposes the construction of a casino in Prince George’s County — something the legislature could discuss in a July special session — in part because it would hurt the market for his casino.

He said it’s important to give a casino time to develop a loyal customer base, an assertion backed by James Karmel, a gambling analyst and history professor at Harford Community College.

Karmel said much of the casino industry is built on establishing a loyal customer base and that process would be interrupted at Maryland Live! and at a proposed Baltimore casino if another facility was built at National Harbor before those casinos had time to settle in.

“I do think that’s a problem, especially when you add another [casino] without allowing the first two to build up a customer base,” Karmel said. “You want to give time to build up that customer base, maybe before introducing another option in the market.”

Eye Opener: O’Malley on ‘Meet the Press’

As a work group prepares to consider expanded gambling in Maryland in its first meeting next week, the developer of the Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills mall says the state is already facing slots over saturation.

Here’s a few other headlines around the web:

Lt. Gov. launches website, gubernatorial bid?

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown certainly sounds like a man trying to raise his profile with the voters of Maryland.

In a pair of e-mails — one Wednesday, another Thursday morning — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced the launch of AnthonyBrown.com, a fundraising website that he says will help Marylanders better communicate with and understand Gov. Martin O’Malley’s No. 2 man.

“This website will help me communicate with you about what we are doing in Maryland to strengthen our communities and, also, to hear from you about what more needs to be done,” Brown wrote in an e-mail to supporters.

He went on to say that a series of videos on the site would give users “more information about my background and service.” He named ending domestic violence and encouraging Marylanders to become foster or adoptive parents as issues that are important to him.

The lieutenant governor, the highest-ranking elected official nationwide to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, has long been thought of as a leading gubernatorial candidate in 2014.

O’Malley has reached the term limit as governor and is thought to have national aspirations when he leaves Annapolis.

It’s setting up to be a busy week for Brown, who is also getting married in College Park Sunday.

House Republicans voice opposition to gambling session

Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

Before even the first meeting of a gambling work group formed Monday, opposition is mounting against the possibility of Gov. Martin O’Malley calling a special session of the General Assembly to consider expanded gambling in Maryland.

Republican leaders of the House of Delegates — Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell and Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio — co-signed a letter to Democratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch on behalf of the House Republican caucus, detailing why a special session should not be convened.

“With annual 90-day sessions, it is our view that special sessions should only be called in times of true, rather than contrived, crisis,” the letter says. “We do not see any crisis or emergency that would necessitate a special session, nor has any reason been given why this must be done now.”

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. — who also received a copy of the letter, along with O’Malley — has pushed hard for the casino issue to be resolved this summer. Any change in state casino law requires an amendment to the state constitution. Any amendment to the state constitution must be approved in a statewide voter referendum during a general election.

If the issue is not voted on this fall, the next statewide election isn’t until 2014. But O’Donnell and Haddaway-Riccio wrote there still wasn’t enough reason to call a special session.

“Holding the debate until the regular session in 2013 may delay the question going to the voters until the 2014 election, but it will give legislators and voters alike the time to consider the issue thoughtfully,” the letter says.

Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

The letter goes on to say that the state should learn from the 2007 special session, where Maryland’s casino framework was established. Trying to change that framework just five years later — and less than two years after the state’s first casino opened — shows the “haphazard manner” through which the program was set up, the letter says.

“If Maryland’s slots program had been crafted in a more deliberative and thoughtful fashion, rather than in a chaotic frenzy, we could be in a very different position today,” the letter says. “We do not need a repeat of past mistakes, the citizens of Maryland deserve better.”

Eye Opener: Lt. Gov. to wed in College Park

Here’s a few headlines around the state this morning: