VIDEO: Governor's Race Close Up: Martin O'Malley (Part 4 of 4)
The governor answers questions from Patch.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This video is the last of four we are posting before the Nov. 2 General Election. Both Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and his Republican rival, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., agreed to sit down to answer questions from Patch readers, but Ehrlich had to cancel. That's why the quality of the two videos differs. We did our best to reschedule with Ehrlich but ultimately had to settle for a less intimate setting.
In this video O'Malley pushes back against Ehrlich's constant attack line that the Democratic governor enacted the largest tax increase in state history. O'Malley reminds voters that Ehrlich voted to raise the property tax and increased tuition by nearly 40 percent.
O'Malley also states that he has no plans to raise taxes in a second term, but The Baltimore Sun reported that the governor could not "promise" that hikes aren't possible.
"I have no intention of introducing any new taxes on anything," O'Malley said. "We are going to be on a constant diet of cuts until our economy rebounds."
Ehrlich's campaign has attempted to win votes by warning that O'Malley would raise taxes again. In 2007, as The Washington Post reported in this excellent breakdown, "O'Malley backed increases on the sales tax, corporate income tax, tobacco tax and titling tax. He also supported higher personal income taxes on upper-income earners while cutting income taxes for middle- and lower-income owners. He supported a computer services tax, which was later repealed."
Here's a check on the facts in the other comments he states.
Claim: "I tried and was not able to roll back the increase in the property tax that Bob Ehrlich enacted in a sort of stealthy way, thinking nobody would notice at the Board of Public Works where he was one of three votes that voted for an increase in the property tax. I attempted to roll that back and was not able to do it. I would not mind revisiting that in better times."
Facts: Ehrlich did indeed increase the property tax rate: from 8.4 to 13.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, effective July 1, 2003, when he voted with the members of the Board of Public Works to raise the rate.
Claim: "We are the eighth smallest state in local government bureaucracy."
Facts: O'Malley mentioned the same statistic at a Board of Public Works meeting this year, but it's unclear where the ranking comes from.
Claim: "I don't think any governor in Maryland history ever jacked up college tuition by 40 percent."
Facts: That may be a slight exaggeration. According to the College Board, the average increase in college tuition across the country was 40 percent during Ehrlich's tenure. According to the College Board, fees and tuition at Maryland public four-year colleges increased from 31 to 38 percent from 2002 to 2006.
Claim: O'Malley said the University System of Maryland was the sixth most expensive during Ehrlich's term. He said now Maryland is 22nd most expensive.
Facts: In 2005-06, Maryland was the eighth highest, but was sixth highest in 2004-05, according to the College Board.