O'Malley mocks plan to proceed with tax cut

Md. Democrats criticized during speech in Carroll

March 10, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Sounding like a candidate for governor, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley criticized state Democratic leaders last night for their reluctance to delay the last phase of a planned income tax cut.

O'Malley, speaking at the Carroll County Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, mocked plans to go ahead with the last phase of a five-year, 10 percent tax cut. "Here in Maryland, I fear that we've gotten so obsessed with controlling government, we stopped governing and lost track of what we stand for."

Key Democratic lawmakers say they will go ahead with the 2 percent tax cut this year despite a projected $1.4 billion deficit over the next 18 months. To pay for the tax cut - a savings of about $75 for a family of four - they plan to cut the budget.

O'Malley, who is considering a run for governor, said the tax cut is not worth deep cuts in environmental, education and social programs.

"That is my kind of Democrat," said Steve Boyan, 63, of Marriottsville. "He's got principles, and he stands for the values of a Democratic party."

If O'Malley runs, he will likely face Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for the Democratic nomination.

She also spoke at the dinner, but steered clear of the budget debate in Annapolis. She spoke of her plans to cut crime, improve education and protect the environment. Asked later about an O'Malley candidacy, she said, "I think it is important that he continues to serve the citizens of Baltimore."

Even some Townsend supporters said they were impressed by O'Malley.

"If he's going to run for governor, I will have to take this off," said Mary Oldewurtel, president of the Carroll County Democratic Club, who was wearing an "I Love Kathleen" sticker.

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