Time for a change in Annapolis

August 26, 2010

Less than a year after his inaugural speech in 2007, Gov. Martin O'Malley steered through a sales tax increase, higher tax rate on Maryland higher wage earners and corporations. He also established a "living wage" for workers on some government contracts. The "Good Old Boys" in the General Assembly (Thomas Mike Miller and Michael Busch) help push these increases through. Now, with the economy and high unemployment, they want to establish more jobs in Maryland. Contractors and corporations are not coming into Maryland with these tax increases. Look at Northrop Grumman; they considered Maryland, however, they went to Virginia for their headquarters, where the corporate tax rate is less and their corporate executives will pay less state income taxes.

Mr. O'Malley campaigned in 2006 on a pledge to roll back BGE's 72 percent rate increase, which was triggered by a deregulation plan passed by the General Assembly years earlier spearheaded by the "Good Old Boys." The reduction in the rate never happened. Mr. O'Malley and the "Good Old Boys" provided no savings for the consumers and have not pursued any action (i.e. re-regulation).

Tucked into the newly enacted federal health care legislation is a mandate that states should expand Medicaid, which will cost Maryland hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. O'Malley declared in a speech in April 2010 that this bill will actually save the state money and bragged about the state's health care programs. He requested $6.2 billion in this year's budget for a program that cost $4.8 billion in 2007, a 29 percent increase in 4 years ---perhaps Mr. O'Malley's judgment isn't all that reliable.

The slots issue continues to be a nose bleed. The state's budget deficits are causing job layoffs and furloughs because of lack of revenue. Mr. O'Malley and the "Good Old Boys" have not taken any action to make the slots problem a priority in order to obtain this revenue. However, Mr. O'Malley has committed millions of taxpayers dollars ($98 million) to procure slot machines, yet another drain on the Maryland budget. Other states have made the various casino operators provide their own slot machines. The market rate for slot machines is $13,000 to $21,000. Maryland is paying about $20,000 to $25,000 per machine without maintenance and installation costs factored in ----------perhaps O'Malley's judgment isn't all that reliable.

Mr. O'Malley is an opponent of capital punishment because of flaws in the criminal justice system. Why not attack and correct the flaws within the system? The governor should be looking out for victim's rights. He states that crime is down; tell that to the citizens of Baltimore. Not a week goes by that there isn't multiple shootings and stabbings in the city.

During the early part of this year a commission was formed to review various lawyers' qualifications and to send a list of qualified individuals to Mr. O'Malley for a vacant Maryland judgeship. The commission provided the list to Mr. O'Malley and he sent the list back to the commission stating he wanted more names added. Mr. O'Malley sent the list back a second time until Thomas Mike Miller's son's name appeared on the list. The judgeship was awarded to Miller's son and the commission members resigned. Another example of the "Good Old Boys" network.

The 2010 General Assembly session was a big disappointment with the state of the economy, unemployment, home foreclosure, etc. The "Good Old Boys" and Mr. O'Malley did nothing to help their constituents. They did not address any public–interest legislation or killed any proposal that was presented.

We need a change, we need new blood in Maryland's General Assembly and the governor's office. We need to restore public faith in Maryland's government and work toward the fundamental reforms that help people and build trust in government. Out of control spending and tax increases and poor judgment is not the way to govern in the present or the future.

Alton Sadler, Davidsonville

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