For John and Jane Q. Citizen, the budget problems bedeviling the statesfolk in Annapolis have little meaning.
Will the lawmakers, struggling to balance the budget in these hard times, postpone the 2 percent state income tax cut which is the last installment in the multi-year, 10 percent reduction proposed by Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening in the throes of the last election campaign?
That cut, ridiculed by Republican candidate Ellen Sauerbrey as "tax cut lite," would mean about $1.50 a week, or the cost of one beer, to the average taxpayer.
If losing that is the worst that happens to John and Jane Q., they should be grateful. Far costlier to their quality of life in the long run could be big slashes in education funds or approval of the move to sell the nonprofit Carefirst health insurer to a profit-motivated California conglomerate.
But the worry of Democrats controlling the State House is that Republicans are already labeling postponement of the tax cut as a tax increase. In this election year, that label could cost Democrats votes.
Compound this with the additional fear instilled by the creation of new legislative districts, and you have an acute case of jitters among the solons on the Severn.
Incumbents threatened by political extinction may wring their hands and howl about the splitting of communities and about the shrinking of minority representation in Annapolis.
But as the late humorist Myron Cohen reminded us, "Everybody gotta be someplace." A corollary truism is that, under Supreme Court dictum, everybody gotta have a voice in Annapolis.
The pure purpose of redistricting is the reapportionment of voting strength in accordance with population shifts, even when the last census shows that the shift has been from the Baltimore region to the Washington region.
But the impure purpose of the redistricting plan now wriggling its way through Annapolis is to maximize Democratic power and to minimize Republican prospects.
Still, there may be curious by-products, such as the splitting of Dundalk into at least four districts and the catapulting of its Sen. Norman Stone, into an Anne Arundel County-based district where his future is dark.
Why? Because after Stone's son was appointed to a judgeship by the governor, the senator refused to vote for the gay-rights bill which was a key component of the governor's legislative program?
There are other questions, such as why such incumbents, such as Del. Don Murphy of Catonsville and Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV of Baltimore City were apparently hung out to dry.
Answers are hard to come by on the public record. But they are of greater interest to the politicians directly affected by them than to John and Jane Q.
For them, what really matters is that, like everybody else, they gotta have a voice in Annapolis.