Maryland Dems Refuse to Play Nice With New Governor

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Feb 16, 2015 4:31 PM
Maryland Dems Refuse to Play Nice With New Governor

It’s a new, more conservative dawn in Maryland. In January, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) took the reins from his very liberal predecessor, Martin O’Malley. It hasn’t even been a month since he was sworn in, yet Democrats are already letting Hogan know they’re not happy.

The tension started after Hogan’s State of the State address in Annapolis. The new governor pledged to usher in tax cuts and relaxed regulations on businesses in his first term. One particularly vocal critic of Hogan's conservative-themed speech, was House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who said he was shocked by the 'raw politics' of Hogan's remarks:

"The governor is still campaigning rather than turning his attention to governing," Busch said. "The tone of the speech was one that talked down to many of the legislators who were here and who made the tough decision to fund priority programs."

In addition to criticizing Hogan’s speech as “partisan,” Miller also interpreted the new governor’s remarks as a threat to Baltimore schools:

Miller dismissed Hogan's call for the elimination of income taxes on military and police pensions, saying the state could not favor certain constituency groups at the same time education funding formulas were being scaled back.

Miller and his fellow Democrats in Maryland may be condemning Hogan’s agenda as too conservative and contrary to their liberal causes, yet what they seem to so quickly forget is the partisanship that defined O’Malley’s tenure as governor. A quick summary from The Washington Post:

But O’Malley’s time in Annapolis is also the story of an unbowed liberal champion, who muscled through a string of policy changes that will endure long after he departs Wednesday. Gay couples in Maryland can now marry; the state no longer executes prisoners; minimum-wage workers are getting pay increases; and undocumented immigrants can qualify for in-state college tuition rates. It is harder to buy a gun.

O’Malley will perhaps be remembered most of all for raising taxes. The most egregious tax he burdened Marylanders with, is the ridiculous rain tax. You read that right - a tax on precipitation. It is this legacy that has caused businesses to flee the state and one that Hogan is now trying to scale back.

Yet, as we all know, liberal agendas aren’t as partisan as conservative ones. Right?

Despite what his colleagues think, Logan is determined conservatism is the way forward for Maryland:

“I’m an agent of change,” Mr. Hogan said in reply, “and they’re defending the status quo.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article read that Gov. Hogan's State of the State address was given in Baltimore. It was in Annapolis.