If Martin O’Malley is pretending to be a progressive so he can run for president, well, I wish more Democrats were that ambitious! Can we clone this guy? This is what a real progressive agenda looks like, Gov. Cuomo:
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a package of tax increases Tuesday targeting six-figure earners, tobacco users and companies engaged in real estate transactions to cover record spending on education.
In a two-hour ceremony, it was easily the most recognizable measure O’Malley (D) signed but hardly the most popular. Rather, union members, minorities and interest groups crowded the State House to celebrate more than 200 lesser-known and often narrowly tailored bills. They passed the General Assembly with little fanfare but, taken together, will color the social and political identity of the Old Line State a slightly deeper shade of blue.
The bills included efforts to stimulate the economy, protect the environment and help family farms. And nearly a century after three-quarters of U.S. states ratified the 17th Amendment — which allowed U.S. senators to be elected instead of appointed by state legislatures — Maryland got on board.
One of the first bills O’Malley signed was a capital budget, which will accelerate borrowing of more than $100 million to promote job growth through construction and maintenance of schools, parks and public housing.
Answering a call from President Obama, Maryland will raise the age that children will be required to stay in school, from 16 to 17, and raise it again within five years, to 18.
Maryland will also continue expanding collective bargaining rights to state employees, increase tax breaks for solar, geothermal and other green-energy projects, and become the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed.
In addition, officials will develop a network of parking and charging stations for electric vehicles, study whether to issue citations rather than jail time for hundreds of minor crimes, and race ahead with implementing Obama’s health-care overhaul.