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Gov. O'Malley Calls on Lawmakers to Make Tough Choices

Said infrastructure key to state's economic growth

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley told his vision for improving the economy Wednesday, and it could cost taxpayers more money.

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Gov. Martin O'Malley used his annual State of the State speech to urge lawmakers to make investments in the future to spur job growth.
 
The Democratic governor, who gave his sixth State of the State speech on Wednesday, said lawmakers must be willing to make tough decisions this year to make the state stronger. O'Malley told lawmakers that, ``There are costs, and there are values.''

O'Malley told lawmakers that the state's economic growth depends on infrastructure in need of new investment.  He said his sales tax on gas proposal would create 7,000 new jobs and help relieve some of the state's roadway congestion.

The governor also discussed a plan to shift the cost of teacher pensions over to local municipalities, a proposal that has some Democrats leary and facing stiff resistance from Republicans.

Perhaps realizing this menu of new taxes and financial obligations could be a tough sell, O'Malley said, "No one is going to make the tough choices for us."

O'Malley has submitted a $3.6 billion capital budget that increases state borrowing in hopes of creating more than 50,000 jobs.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, the Senate minority leader, gave the GOP's response on Wednesday.
 
Pipkin, R-Cecil, says the governor is relying too much on tax increases to address a $1.1 billion budget deficit.
 
The senator says the Democratic governor's proposals are nothing more than the same old tax and spend policies that have slowed economic growth in Maryland.

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