“You can definitively say there is not going to be a jobs bill,” said spokeswoman Takirra Winfield. “We will be sending something out in the next day or so, but it’s not going to be a huge comprehensive bill … our goal is to not introduce anything too complicated, but to keep it short and sweet.”
The statement from O’Malley’s office all but confirmed what appeared to be a growing consensus inside the State House: lawmakers had little appetite to repeat O’Malley’s frenetic 2007 special session and tinker with tax credits, capital budgets or other measures in the hopes of spurring job growth.
O’Malley’s decision comes even as he has sought to be a cheerleader for President Obama’s failing jobs bill and as Maryland’s unemployment rate inched up to 7.3 percent in August.
An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the issue said the lack of a stimulus plan didn’t mean job creation was any less of a priority for O’Malley.
Rather, he said, it had become apparent that expediting capital spending for construction and other measures would be complicated tasks that would have to be ironed out by the legislature during its full 90-day session that begins in January.
“There won’t be a jobs bill, per say, but there will be a lot of talk about jobs,” said the official. “We will start a dialogue next week that is going to continue through the fall and into the regular session about the state’s appropriate role in helping businesses large and small create jobs in our state.”
Without a jobs package, it’s increasingly likely that the special session, which O’Malley officially called Wednesday, will last no more than a week and include little else but redistricting.
A proposed congressional map was unveiled last week by O’Malley’s redistricting advisory committee, and the governor is said to be considering minor changes to the plan before the special session.
Under the proposal, Democrats would stand a fighting chance of winning Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett’s (R) 6th District, which would lose much of Frederick County to Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D) 8th District and take on a slice of western Montgomery County in return. That could give Democrats seven of Maryland’s eight seats in the House of Representatives.
The General Assembly will likely convene late Monday morning and begin hearings on a proposed congressional map by that afternoon, said officials familiar with the schedule. Objections by Republicans and possibly other minorities could push a vote into Wednesday or later.