O'Malley on the go and the taxpayer cost
Gov. Martin O’Malley is home from his European tour after traveling from the beaches of Normandy for the D-Day Anniversary to Bosnia and Estonia for a cultural exchange and to Sweden on a trade mission. The trip begs the question — as all international travel done in the name of state business does — what’s the taxpayer tab for the governor’s travel, meals and other expenses?
The answer from O’Malley’s office: about $8,000.
And that could be a bargain, says spokesman Shaun Adamec. “It could easily pay for itself,” he said. Consider that the governor spent part of his time in Sweden with Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson discussing an international partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, Sweden’s Energy Agency and Volvo to advance hybrid technology. Much of the research and development is slated to take place at Volvo’s Hagerstown facility, Adamec noted.
O’Malley also met with about 20 Swedish clean technology companies looking to expand in the United States, including a company that’s using poultry manure as a fuel source. (There’s plenty of chicken poop on Maryland’s poultry operations.) And he had breakfast with officials from the biotechnology industry, laying the groundwork for Swedish delegation to visit Maryland later this year. So these travels may yield jobs in Maryland, the governor’s office contends.
NOTE: As of this time last year, O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown had spent more than $172,000 in taxpayer dollars since taking office on trips for state business and political events around the county, and to foreign locales from Ireland to China, according to records obtained by The Baltimore Sun.