Md. House GOP candidates sign 'Prosperity Pledge'
Republican candidates for the House of Delegates on Thursday signed a "Prosperity Pledge for Maryland" that advocates rolling back some 2007 tax increases, fighting federal health care mandates and term-limiting committee chairmanships in Annapolis, among other things.
The pledge, signed by a few dozen of the party's candidates during a ceremony outside the State House, is an effort to present a unified message as Republicans seek to increase their numbers and relevance in November.
"If we don't have significant changes in November, the unchecked overspending in Annapolis will continue," said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert).
O'Donnell said that GOP candidates are running as "change agents" in races for 105 of 141 House seats this fall.
He said the timing of the Maryland House Republican caucus pledge was coincidental to that of House Republicans on Capitol Hill, who Thursday unveiled "A Pledge to America" that outlines their agenda if they take control of the chamber.
With only 37 of 141 House seats currently held by Republicans in Annapolis, the odds of enacting the state-level pledge may be a little longer.
House GOP leaders outlined four "pillars" that make up the pledge: repealing tax increases from the 2007 special session; bringing jobs to Maryland; restoring Maryland's "sovereignty"; and making government more accessible and accountable.
The specifics include rolling back the state sales tax rate from 6 percent to 5 percent, an issue that former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is pushing in his rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). House Republicans also want to roll back the corporate income tax rate from 8.25 percent to 7 percent.
Among other budget initiatives, the GOP caucus pledges to reform the legislature's capital budget process to end "pork barrel spending" on pet projects for lawmakers.
The jobs agenda includes support for a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs and an "E-verify system" to ensure state contractors hire only "lawfully present" workers.
In the "sovereignty" section of the pledge, the caucus says it will "put the federal government on notice that we will not allow any attempt to require individuals to purchase health insurance."
Highlights of the accountability section include limiting legislative chairmanships to four years; streaming video on the Web of legislative committee meetings, voting sessions and floor sessions; and requiring voters to present photo identification to cast ballots.
| September 23, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections, John Wagner
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