Update, 10 p.m.: The Maryland Republican Party took issue with O’Malley’s email Thursday night, saying it showed a politician trying to “pull the wool over our eyes.”
In a statement, David Ferguson, the organization’s executive director,
blamed O’Malley for the “debacle” at the session’s end, which Ferguson said reflected the governor’s “mismanagement, incompetence and a failure to lead.”
“The people should be proud Republican leaders are standing up against higher taxes, wasteful spending and a governor who is out of touch with reality,” Ferguson said.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) made a plea for party unity Thursday afternoon as an impasse over completing work from the 90-day legislative session continued between the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.
“If there is ever a time to come together as Democrats, it is now,” O’Malley said in an e-mail sent out by his campaign.
The e-mail cast Republicans in the legislature as a foil, citing their recent statements that returning to Annapolis for a special session is not necessary.
Lawmakers adjourned at midnight on April 9 without passing an agreed-upon tax package, a move that will trigger more than $500 million in cuts to planned spending if they do not act in a special session before July.
Democratic legislative leaders have reached no consensus over whether a special session should include other issues, most notably a gambling bill that died on the final night of session. That legislation calls for a public vote on allowing a full-fledged casino in Prince George’s County.
“The failure to pass a budget to move Maryland forward is bad enough, but the Republican reaction is even worse,” O’Malley says in the e-mail. “When Republicans in Annapolis learned that the inaction by the General Assembly would result in more than $500 million in cuts to public education, public safety and social services, they cheered.”
Republicans, who make up modest-sized minorities in both the House and Senate, have highlighted the fact that the overall size of Maryland’s budget will increase, even if the “doomsday” cuts feared by Democrats take effect.
At a news conference this week, House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Talbot), said Democrats were engaging in scare tactics and trying to use potential spending reductions as a “coercion tool for tax hikes.”
In his e-mail, O’Malley says: “We will come back to complete this important work.” At an unrelated event on Thursday, he declined to answer when asked when the legislature might return to Annapolis.