Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) made a late-session pitch Wednesday for two of his languishing priorities: measures to spur the state’s wind power industry and to raise revenue for transportation projects.
“The most productive days of most legislative sessions are the last three or four,” O’Malley told reporters following a building renaming ceremony in Annapolis.
With lawmakers scheduled to adjourn Monday, a bill that would provide incentives to create a wind farm off Maryland’s coast has passed the House of Delegates but is stalled in the Senate Finance Committee.
“We still have some persuading to do in the Senate committee,” O’Malley told reporters.
The wind bill failed last year but appeared to have momentum coming out of the House last week. O’Malley said he is still hopeful the bill will get to his desk in coming days, but he acknowledged some legislation can take years to pass in Annapolis.
“Sometimes these deliberations are accomplished in short order,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a year or two. Sometimes its takes three or four.”
Odds appear longer this year for an O’Malley-backed transportation package. The governor has proposed applying the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gasoline to generate more funds for road and mass transit projects.
On Wednesday, O’Malley repeated another option that he floated on the first day of the session: raising the state’s general sales tax by 1 percentage point. Directing that revenue to transportation would accomplish the same aim, the governor said.
“I’m fairly agnostic on it,” O’Malley said. “I’m open to any idea the legislature has to address this problem.”