Annapolis will be a picture of pomp and ceremony Wednesday for Gov. Martin O'Malley's annual state of the state address. The governor is set to speak to both chambers of the General Assembly at noon.
O'Malley has already unleashed an ambitious plan that has left members of his own party whipsawed. He's proposing raising revenues from income taxes, a sales tax on gasoline and the monthly fee for water use know as the flush tax. Also, he's pushing a controversial social agenda, trying to convince lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage.
Wednesday's address will give the governor a chance to sell the plan to reluctant lawmakers -- who are already catching flack from constituents about the pocketbook issues. We're not expecting anything new Wednesday -- but beware: No news was expected out of the address last year, the governor shocked the political establishment by unveiling a plan to limit sprawl via prohibiting septic systems in most parts of the state.
That said, the issues already on the table are all going to be hard for O'Malley to pass. The governor hasn't had much luck in recent years with signature issues, falling short on a repeal of the death penalty, and watching the legislature punt on an off-shore wind energy bill and a plan to limit septic systems.
Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller has warned the governor, more than once, that he'll need to pay more attention to Annapolis this year than in the past. But, national political events are tugging on the governor's time. He is chairing the Democratic Governors Association for a second year and has already made two out-of-state trips for the organization this session.