By SHANNON HOFFMAN
ANNAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2010)—Maryland Republican leaders pledged Thursday to halt unchecked spending, repeal taxes and bring jobs to the state, among other goals, when they announced the party's four-part plan.
The pledge, signed by more than 40 House Republicans and candidates, blames current Democratic government spending, policies and taxes for the state's economic woes.
"Clearly, Maryland has a spending problem, not a revenue problem," Del. Christopher Shank, minority whip, read from the pledge at the signing ceremony.
Topping the GOP plan is repealing the tax increases of 2007. Three years ago, the Maryland legislature passed about $1.4 billion in annual tax increases to address the budget deficit.
But after the increases, "Maryland's fiscal outlook has not improved," reads the pledge.
Laslo Boyd, a partner at Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies, said the repeal is a hollow promise, because it isn't realistic.
"Even if (Republican candidate Bob) Ehrlich is voted governor, they don't have the votes in the General Assembly," he said, of the Republicans, who are a distinct minority in Annapolis.
The State Democratic Party released a statement Thursday evening calling the plan a "repackaged 'pledge' from Newt Gingrich's failed experiment," alluding to the 2004 Contract with America.
Republicans also pledged to improve the job market in the state by lowering taxes and supporting the building of a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs.
The pledge notes that the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research group, ranked Maryland 45th in its list of worst business climates in the nation.
The third goal of the pledge is to restore sovereignty to Marylanders, focusing mainly on the new federal healthcare laws, an "egregious example of the government overstepping its bounds," the pledge reads.
It's a question regarding constitutional rights being posed by several attorneys general across the nation, most of which are Republicans, Boyd said. But Maryland's attorney general, a Democrat, ran unopposed and will continue his tenure, making it unlikely that Maryland will challenge the legislation, Boyd said.
The final pillar of the pledge is to increase government transparency by making voting records, tax money use, state grant and loan details, and other information accessible online.
"Given today's technology, there is no reason that this cannot be accomplished," the pledge reads.
The pledge came on the heels of the Congressional GOP plan, announced the same day, and reflects many of the same goals. But Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell said the timing was coincidental.
"This pledge is a clear message to the citizens of Maryland that they have a choice in this election," O'Donnell said, "that they can avoid the higher taxes and the continuous downward spiral that the Democratic monopoly will lead them to."
Capital News Service contributed to this report.