When Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. left office in 2007, the state had a $1.4 billion budget surplus and nearly full employment and was a place where private-sector businesses thrived. Mr. O’Malley, after his first 18 months in office, destroyed all of those successes. He passed massive tax increases on retail sales and income. He signed the first ever “millionaire’s tax,” which forced thousands of affluent residents to flee Maryland and take their assets with them. He created the “tech tax” on information-technology companies, proposed a “fitness tax” on local gyms and has sought to index the gas tax. The poisonous combination of these tax increases has driven 2,500 Maryland businesses to close their doors and lay off more than 200,000 workers.
The simple truth is that individual prosperity and business growth are destitute here in Maryland thanks to Mr. O’Malley. He isn’t fighting for hardworking taxpayers; he is fighting to appeal to intellectual liberals who tend to vote in the Iowa caucuses.
Today, thanks in part to Mr. O’Malley’s eagerness to accept federal stimulus dollars with strings attached, the deficits have grown bigger and the massive, mandated spending has continued. Maryland has a population of just more than 5.5 million but an annual budget of $35 billion and a state employee workforce of 80,000. Instead of trimming the workforce and its expenses, as Maryland private-sector employers have done during the recession, Mr. O’Malley has protected state employees and even expanded Medicaid and other social-welfare programs. To pay for his bloated bureaucracy, he has used stimulus grants and forced the dwindling private sector to cough up more in taxes. Exhibit A is his new tax increase on “wealthy” families who make $150,000 annually. It is a tactic that will destroy private-sector jobs in Maryland but earn him chits with public-sector unions, a key constituency in Democratic presidential primaries.
Mr. O’Malley’s blind ambition has punished working Marylanders. His legacy: a tiny, neutered private sector whose workers will be forced to pay for the burgeoning social-welfare state. Tax increases, a bloated government workforce and expensive energy may be the ticket in the 2016 Democratic primary, but it’s certainly a terrible way to govern. His drive to the White House is destroying a once-great state and certainly will bankrupt a country teetering on the brink.