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Martin O’Malley’s Maryland Mess

Martin O’Malley’s Maryland Mess

He is My Governor, he wants to be Your President

Legal Insurrection gave a lot of coverage to the Dan Bongino Maryland Senate race, but has not delved much into Maryland state politics.

As your resident Maryland blogger, it is my distinct duty and dubious honor to tell you about our current Governor and wannabe presidential candidate.

Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley is busy positioning himself to the Democratic nominee for president in 2016 and using the state as his launching pad.

Currently, the governor’s major issue is repealing Maryland’s death penalty. Since the death penalty was reinstated, five men have been executed by the state, none since 2005. This is hardly a major issue for the state. But if someone needs to burnish his liberal credentials this is essential.

Not to be outdone by other liberal politicians wishing to make their name since the horrendous Connecticut massacre, O’Malley is pushing for stricter gun control laws in the state. (Baltimore has one of the highest murder rates in the country, despite some of the strictest gun laws in the country.) There is a possible consequence to this effort though.

General counsel for Beretta USA, Jeffrey Reh, said:

“A person bent on destruction will find a way to do so and the absence of a folding stock on a rifle or the need to carry an additional magazine will not stop such a person,” Reh said.

Reh also warned the bill could prompt Beretta USA, which employs between 300 and 400 people in the state, to leave for friendlier climes.

“[W]e are confronted with a state government that wants to ban our products at a time, by the way, when numerous other state governments are courting our investment,” Reh said. “It is worth noting that these other states also do not try to blame a product for human misconduct.”

So the push to ban guns may cost Maryland jobs. Again O’Malley is putting his electoral ambitions over that of his state.

Last year in addition to raising taxes (always a vote getter for Democrats) O’Malley’s big push was for expanded gambling in Maryland. Maryland Democrats have done their best to dictate the terms of gaming Maryland, allowing government to determine the sites of casinos and taking huge cuts of the profits. It’s all done in the name of education of course.

In November, Maryland voters approved seven referendum initiatives supported by Governor O’Malley, included an expansion of gaming. The problem is that the battle was fought by two big corporations: one wishing to preserve its market share, the other wanting to increase its market share.

After the referendum won, the news reported:

Maryland Live casino in Anne Arundel County alone generated over $30 million of that figure.

Leaving out that big casino which opened in June, state casino revenues were down by more than 30 percent in the past year.

Almost 40 percent for Hollywood Casino in Perryville.  Per machine revenue at Hollywood was $117.81, according to the state.   Ocean Downs took in a bit more per machine, at $141.54.

A lot of new revenue came at the expense of business at the older casino. That will likely happen when the new casinos are built too. This was one Governor O’Malley’s big wins.

Other referendum questions validated a ridiculous gerrymander (that enabled Maryland’s congressional delegation to increase to a sevent to one Democratic advantage), gay marriage and in state tuition for undocumented citizens. These questions were forced on the ballot by activists. In typical magnanimous fashion after his wins O’Malley then complained that it was too easy for citizens to add ballot initiatives and that Maryland citizens should be happy to have their betters make laws for them without dissent.

Aside from his undeniable charisma, a built in registration advantage of two to one, one of the factors that catapulted O’Malley to the State House was his promise to keep utility rates down. Red Maryland shows that he hasn’t even done that.

Seven years later and one reelection victory later, Maryland electric rates are 54 percent higher than when he first took office. Rates decreased over the last two years because of a drop in demand due to the recession, not O’Malley’s policies.
As noted, last O’Malley held a special session to raise taxes. This is the second time he’s used a special session to raise taxes. When he was first elected governor, in 2007, the state faced a “structural deficit.” In order to bring revenues and spending into line O’Malley with his accomplices in the legislature raised taxes, including the sales tax. Of course Maryland’s budget had grown 100% in the previous decade, well outpacing inflation and population growth, and the structural deficit amounted to about 6% of the total budget. The idea that cutting 6% couldn’t be done reflects O’Malley’s “tax first” approach to governing.
Last year’s tax rise was even less defensible. Even the editors of the Washington Post, usually cheerleaders for more taxes offered this advice:

MARYLAND LAWMAKERS have made such a mess of the people’s business that it now looks like it will take two special legislative sessions in Annapolis, not just one, to straighten things out. But really, there’s a simpler solution: Do nothing.

We’re being facetious, but only slightly. The truth is that if lawmakers in the General Assembly were to stay home and skip the special sessions, the effect would be to cancel plans for a tax increase; spare the state a senseless expansion of casino gambling; eliminate some dubious spending programs; and ensure that Maryland’s $35 billion budget still manages to grow by a respectable $700 million, about 2 percent.

Governor O’Malley and his rubber stamp legislature, though, always equate taxing (and spending) with governing. So once again Marylanders are facing higher taxes. Unsurprisingly a recent survey found that Maryland had one of the biggest tax burdens in the country. On top of that, O’Malley doesn’t feel that Maryland’s gas taxes are high enough, so he and the legislature are looking to increase those too. WTOP reports:

Senate President Mike Miller has suggested raising the gas tax to 3 percent. But Marylanders who earn between $20,000 to $50,000 spent the greatest portion of their income on gas and they would be hit hardest by that tax increase, according to a study released Tuesday by Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Sage Policy Group.

A gas tax increase would ripple throughout the state’s economy in part by limiting the buying power of Maryland consumers.

“We found that the state would lose, based on lost consumption power, about 959 jobs,” said Sage economist Anirban Basu.

Martin O’Malley is a talented politician to be sure. However he’s hardly a great leader. Last year he was unable to pass the tax hikes he wanted during the regular legislative session and had to call a special session to pass those rate hikes and apply them retroactively. (Imagine if a business decided to raise prices on a product after you bought it!) However, O’Malley has a veto proof majority in both houses of the legislature!
O’Malley is first and foremost a tax and spender.
He can claim to have supported and passed all the necessary progressive legislation to make the party faithful swoon. He’s extremely charismatic. He’s also a sore winner and a demagogue.
Most of all, Martin O’Malley is quite ambitious and Maryland has been the petri dish of that ambition. In 2016 he’ll be asking the Democrats (and if he’s successful, the whole country) if he can bring the tax hiking and social enginerring he brought to Maryland, to all 50 states.
[WAJ adds — I’m putting David on O’Malley’s case!]
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Comments

Conservatarian TX | March 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

I escaped the People’s Republic Of Maryland one year into O’Malley’s term, after suffering through his stint as mayor of Baltimore. This post is dead on, and these outcomes could be predicted years ago. O’Malley is Obama-lite: all ambition, no talent for governing.

Glad I left for a place (aside from the occasional moonbat)where common sense is plentiful.

O’Malley sounds like a charismatic version of Mike Dukakis, so he could be bad news indeed.

I’m getting the bad feeling that I may be rooting for Hillary in the Democratic primaries.

I think the Big Dogs of the National Democratic Political Machine will grind him up, and use him as a foil for their chosen candidate. One can only hope that as the democrats feed on themselves (Does anyone think Biden will really have a chance to win 2016?), looking for a replacement for their holy one, that the Republicans will choose a real conservative candidate, and not “Conservative” Milk Toast.

The latest poll shows him getting a big “meh” in Maryland:

Only 49 percent of Marylanders approve of the job O’Malley is doing as governor, a new Washington Post poll has found. That’s little changed from the fall but down from his high of 57 percent in September 2010, shortly before his reelection to a second term. It is also well shy of the assessment President Obama receives in deep-blue Maryland (61 percent) and lower than what O’Malley’s Republican predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., got the summer before he was voted out of office in 2006 (56 percent).

While O’Malley maintains more supporters than detractors (41 percent disapprove), he gets no better than mixed marks from the public on a variety of key issues, including a concerted push he has made since taking office in 2007 to make college tuition more affordable. In the poll, more Marylanders say they think O’Malley is doing a not-so-good or poor job in that regard than say he is doing an excellent or good one.

Much like Cuomo, O’Malley’s numbers seem to be worse the more he tries to promote controversial issues the Democrats claim make them so popular on a national level. His same sex marriage measure barely squeaked past with a 2 to 1 D registration advantage.

How can this be possibly true when we are told day in and day out that Republicans are doomed unless they embrace gay marriage with wanton abandon? With the weakest gdp growth and bleakest job environment in post-WWII recovery, Republican consultants and media analysts can find nothing more urgent than opposition to gay marriage to discuss. Maybe they should take a look at how it is helping O’Malley in deepest blue Maryland.

Yeah, but does Maryland have more ex-governors in prison than Illinois?

    David Gerstman in reply to rinardman. | March 4, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Did Agnew go to jail? Mandel went to jail but his conviction was later overturned. (“Mail fraud” is an exceedingly broad category.)

TrooperJohnSmith | March 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Sadly, it looks like states such as Maryland, Illinois and New York are becoming the prototype for a new America. First, the Progressocrats ruin the industrial tax base, but the unemployed and underemployed get enough benefits to keep them in or near poverty. Then, the same government who ruined their state comes to their permanent “rescue” in the form of more public largesse, debilitating to both the state and the recipient. Thus, the underclass the state created helps maintain that state’s Democratic stranglehold on political control.

Eventually, we will cease to be the United States of Chicago and become the United States of Detroit.

I’m thinking it’s about time to secede.

Having to get law enforcement permission to buy a handgun is obviously not nearly restrictive enough. Yet Maryland is the “Free State”.

I truly, truly hope Beretta moves out to show the Annapolis clowns that laws have consequences.

    David Gerstman in reply to walls. | March 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

    5 years ago the legislature nearly chased a Walmart distribution center away. It took a the courts to toss out an unconstitutional law that had been vetoed by Gov. Ehrlich and overridden by the legislature. Such is the nature of our “lawmakers,” they’ll pass an unconstitutional law and then double down on said law. Really any of them who were members of the bar, should have been disbarred for such malfeasance.

Maryland is a one party state. We, well not “we” as in conservatives, keep electing these socialists who pander to the dependents by using our tax money.
He needs to raise the gas tax because he raided the transportation trust fund to pay for his socialist agenda.
He ran against the last Republican governor [Bob Ehrlich] claiming that Ehrlich raised taxes and “fees”. As soon as he was sworn in, taxes and “fees” were on the rise. Oh, and Ehrlich did not raise taxes or “fees”, the democrat controlled legislature did.
He has taken advantage of the sad Sandy Hook event and created a problem that did not previously exist. It begins as very restrictive hoops that a gun purchaser must jump through, bans military looking weapons incorrectly called “assault weapons”, requires the registration of these weapons and bans the sale of magazines with a capacity over ten rounds.
He wants to do to America what he has done to the state and the city of Baltimore. He wants to finish the job that his socialist predecessor has begun and may not have the political capital to complete.

[…] tax hike is not a sign of leadership, though. Commenter, Towson Lawyer, noted last week that Maryland’s government has a habit of raiding the the transportation fund for other […]

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