Governor to address lawmakers in annual State of the State
At noon, Gov. Martin O'Malley will deliver the annual "State of the State," a speech expected to include lots of talk about protecting and creating jobs amid another year of a national down economy. The Democratic governor, like all 188 state lawmakers who will be in the House of Delegates chamber listening to him, is up for reelection this fall.
While the governor's office puts the finishing touches on this year's remarks, let's remind ourselves where we were last year. Here are the opening paragraphs of The Baltimore's Sun's coverage of the 2009 address:
Gov. Martin O'Malley charted a course for the state through a national recession yesterday, pledging to protect safety net programs, freeze college tuition and eradicate childhood hunger.
The Democratic governor laid out the vision in his third State of the State address before a joint session of the General Assembly, which must approve many of his plans. In a 30-minute speech, O'Malley said he "never felt more energized" despite bleak economic times, and repeatedly invoked President Barack Obama's name, drawing applause in the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature.
"Our great challenge for this session is to redouble our efforts, doing all we can to stand up for Maryland families and to power through the other side of this recession ahead of every other state," O'Malley said. "The very good news is that we actually have a president and a Congress who, rather than looking at government as the enemy, are committed to moving us forward."
This year, O'Malley has agreed to end his signature tuition freeze, instead backing a 3 percent increase now that he has achieved his goal of making college more affordable, he says. He may address this in today's speech.
And with the president's popularity declining and growing discontent with incumbent elected officials from both parties, it will be interesting to listen for how frequently O'Malley drops Obama's name -- and just how enthusiasticly lawmakers respond this time.
Sen. Allan Kittleman, a Howard County Republican and the Senate minority leader, will give his party's response immediately after O'Malley's address. Republicans have already put out a sort of preview of Kittleman's talking points, pointing out what they say is the "irony" of State of the State being delivered on Groundhog Day. (The speech was moved twice, first to accomodate the State of the Union and then to account for Baltimore's change in leadership, coming Thursday.)
Maryland citizens must feel like they live in a perpetual budget Groundhog Day under Governor O'Malley. For the fourth year in a row, Governor O'Malley introduced a budget plan that papers over deep deficit spending by one-time transfers, fund swaps and "found money."
Governor O'Malley continues to plug the hole in the dam instead of providing the long-term structural repairs that are needed to solve the state's gaping black hole of deficits. The next Governor will need to resolve over $8 billion of deficits caused by O'Malley's misguided budget policy.
To add insult to injury, these deficits were rolled up by O'Malley after he promised Maryland taxpayers that the 2007 special session historic tax hikes would solve Maryland's future deficits.
Check back shortly after noon for an update covering O'Malley's address.