I wanted to share a few subjects with you before you, hopefully, have the opportunity to take off for a much needed summer rest. I did receive some nice news this week when I was informed that I received a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters on their just-released scorecard.
According to a recent Washington Post article, the top tenth of one percent of Americans made over 10% of all income in 2008. The top 15,000 families (the top one hundredth of one percent) had average incomes of $27 million and accounted for an astounding 5% of all income in the country. While it should not be a shock that the rich have gotten richer while the middle and working classes have seen their incomes stagnate, these findings demonstrate just how out of kilter our nation's income gap has become. Since 1975 the richest 0.1% of Americans have increased their share of income by over 300%. The United States now ranks just behind Cameroon and Ivory Coast in income disparity.
Much of this disparity comes from the outrageous compensation packages of our nation's corporate executives. Since the 1970's, CEO pay has quadrupled, while most of the rest of American income stagnated after accounting for inflation. Last year as part of the financial overhaul, Congress for the first time required companies to disclose how much executives make compared to the typical worker at a company. These companies are now actively lobbying Congress to rescind this rule.
Don't we have a right to know how much corporate executives are gouging shareholders? And that's not all. These outlandish executive compensation packages can be deducted from corporate income tax as a 'business expense.' So these compensation packages don't just cost shareholders, they also cost taxpayers. Several years ago I introduced a bill that would have limited the deductibility of any executive compensation exceeding 25 times the salary of the lowest paid full-time employee. It may be time to revisit this legislation.
Stormwater management legislation, CB-15, is currently pending before the County Council. And it's not as strong as it should be. Under the current regulation, builders are required to prevent less than a quarter-inch, or 20 percent, from escaping the site in one hour. Under the new measure, redevelopment projects must prevent stormwater runoff from escaping the property at a rate of a half-inch each hour. This new measure is the lowest level the county can set and still be within the minimum required by state law. We can and must do better.
National Night Out is an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our effort to have safer communities. This year's Annual National Night Out is Tuesday, August 2nd. I will be visiting many communities and hope you will join in your neighborhood's activities.
The Purple Line is a proposed light rail line that would run from Bethesda to Silver Spring to College Park and finally to New Carrollton. It promises to connect important employment and residential areas in Montgomery County and Prince George's for the first time. A map of the route is available here.
The project is awaiting approval from the Federal Government to begin preliminary engineering. A similar project in Baltimore, known as the Red Line, just received this preliminary federal approval this week to begin the engineering design process. If federal financing is approved for the Purple Line, construction could begin as soon as 2015.
The Maryland Transit Authority has been holding community meetings to provide updates and answer questions about the Purple Line. The next meeting is Tuesday July 12, at 7PM at the Riverdale Park Town Hall.
Now that summer has arrived, our local farmers' markets are in full swing. They are a great opportunity to buy local produce and other products as well as to meet your neighbors.
College Park Farmers' Market
5211 Paint Branch Parkway
(On parking lot of Herbert Wells Ice Rink/Ellen Linson Swimming Pool)
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to Noon April 30 - November 19
Franklin Park Farmers' Market at Greenbelt Station (this is a new market this year)
6220 Spring Hill Drive
Sunday: Noon to 4:00 p.m. June 19 - October 30
Greenbelt Farmers' Market
25 Crescent Road
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. May 8 - November 20
Hyattsville Farmers' Market at Queens Chapel Town Center
Corner of Queens Chapel Road and Hamilton St. (behind shopping center)
Tuesday: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. June 14 - October 25
Riverdale Park Farmers' Market
MARC Rail Station Parking Lot
4650 Queensbury Rd.
Thursday: 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. April 14 - November 17
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