The Democratic governor of Maryland has seen his term marred by job losses, population flight, and crippling ethical scandals.
Martin O’Malley has been able to enact the Democratic Party’s dream economic policy, as Democrats control the Maryland legislature as well as the governor’s mansion. Under Governor O’Malley, Maryland has enacted more than 20 fee and tax raises and increased government spending in an effort to revive the economy.
The result has been 30,000 lost jobs since O’Malley’s inauguration in 2007—and 30,000 lost taxpayers, many of whom moved to escape higher taxes.
Unemployment sits at 7 percent, 1.8 percent higher than in Republican-controlled, nearby Virginia. The states typically have similar unemployment numbers, but this is the largest gap in 10 years. Despite higher taxes, Maryland has still faced fiscal challenges, with the legislature coming into a special session this May to raise taxes to close the deficit.
Maryland’s Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, slammed this special session. He said in a letter, "My final objection to this strategy of resolving our fiscal challenges through tax increases … is that it simply won’t work. … We must also remember that Maryland’s fiscal well-being depends entirely on the strength of our economy, and that a true economic recovery cannot be achieved through state government spending, but rather, through meaningful private sector growth."
O’Malley’s alleged ethical lapses are as troubling as the economic woes facing his state.
Governor O’Malley secured $28 million for highway access to a business development in 2008 owned by a campaign donor. The donor was fined $55,000 for illegally funneling over $25,000 to O’Malley’s campaign through his company’s vice presidents.
Late last year O’Malley had to return the campaign donations given by a convicted tax evader. Instead of paying $3.9 million in taxes, O’Malley’s appointee to the state redistricting commission gave about $75,000 to Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama—and Martin O’Malley.