Gov. Martin O’Malley said he would support higher taxes for transportation to spend on infrastructure projects and create construction jobs.
O’Malley also said at a news conference that he has also ordered a 60-day review of all state regulations to identify “any regulations that we can eliminate to spark faster job creation.”
While the special session was called to pass congressional redistricting maps, the governor said the number one priority is “job creation and job retention … to get as many Marylanders back to work as we possibly can.”
To do that, he said he needs to “build consensus and pass the strongest capital budget that we possibly can.”
Asked if the state’s ceiling on its capital debt would prevent greater spending on projects such as schools and highways, O’Malley said the debt limit was based on revenues, and he would support increasing taxes to fund more construction funding.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding is getting ready to recommend a 15 cent increase in the gasoline tax, along with other vehicle fee increases.
House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller spoke to reporters with O’Malley and said they supported his jobs plan.
“I think the timing is perfect for an aggressive capital infrastructure budget,” Busch said. “We want to put people to work.”
O’Malley said the question is “whether we’re willing to pay another penny, another nickel, another dime” or even 15 cents. “What are we willing to do to get people back to work quickly?” the governor asked.