Sen. David Brinkley of Frederick is back as Senate Republican leader, unanimously elected Monday by the 12-member GOP caucus, which also chose Sen. Joseph Getty of Carroll County as minority whip.
Brinkley replaces Sen. E.J. Pipkin of Cecil County, who abruptly quit in August to move to Texas.
“We are to be the loyal opposition,” Brinkley said. “We also have to look forward to the next election.” They will try to at least hold onto the dozen seats they have in the 47-member Senate, despite Democratic redistricting.
First they have to get through the next session. Brinkley said the repeal of the so-called “rain tax” (stormwater runoff fees), reduction in the corporate income tax, and possible reduction of the gas tax hike passed earlier this year are at the top of the agenda.
There will also be a push by Democrats to increase the minimum wage, he said, possibly tied to a cut in the corporate tax rate, now at 8.5%, among the highest in the region.
Taxes by the truck load
“The state has money coming in by the dump truck load” due to tax hikes during the O’Malley Brown administration, Brinkley said. “Some of the job creators are leaving the state” due to those tax hikes.
Getty said there will be “continuing debate over the Maryland business climate,” a debate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas “jump started” last week with advertising and a visit to lure businesses away from Maryland.
Brinkley and Getty have worked together over two decades, and were both first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994 after serving as the chair of the central committees in their neighboring home counties.
Brinkley was elected to the Senate in 2002 and served as minority leader in 2007 and 2008. He currently serves on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
Like Brinkley, Getty served two terms in the House and then worked on the campaign of Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who made him his legislative and policy director.
Both are natives of western Maryland, where there is some talk of secession from the rest of the state.
“That voices the frustration with the policies coming out of Annapolis,” Brinkley said.