Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley offered his State of the State speech in front of reporters and Maryland lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon, highlighting his accomplishments and pushing them to address his legislative agenda.
The first part of the governor's roughly 35-minute speech touched on all the spending cuts and tax hikes that were passed during his six-year tenure in office — most of which occurred during his first year in 2007. O'Malley said that those moves allowed the state to avoid the worst of the economic recession.
"Knowing that we could not cut our way to prosperity, we balanced record budget cuts with modern investments; investments in the very priorities that create jobs and expand opportunity: educating, innovating, and rebuilding for a better economic future," O'Malley said.
But during the last part of the address, he pushed lawmakers to approve many of his top priorities during this session. Those priorities include developing offshore wind power, banning military-style assault weapons and repealing the death penalty. He said he wanted the latter ever since he took office in 2007.
"Research from our commission has shown it is not a deterrent. It can not be administered without racial bias," O'Malley said. "It costs three times as much as locking someone up for life without parole. And it can not be reversed if an innocent person is executed."
The governor did make one comment in particular, however, which caught the attention of Maryland Republicans.
"The majority of executions now take place in just seven countries: Iran, Iraq, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Yemen... and the United States of America," O'Malley said.
That angered House Republican leader Anthony O'Donnell, who noted their were several foreign ambassadors in attendance.
"Comparing us to some very despotic governments in the world in front of an international audience... you can advocate for some of your policy changes without running the United States of America into the ground, and I find that very offensive," O'Donnell said.
O'Malley also urged the General Assembly to approve new tax hikes for transportation.
"There's no reason to settle for the worst traffic congestion in the country," McDonnell said.
O'Malley did not, however, offer specifics on transportation funding, much to the chagrin of some of his supporters, including Montomgery County executive Isiah Leggett.
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