Afternoon Read: O’Malley’s State of the State Address

"Jobs" was the buzz word in Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley's State of the State address today. The governor called for aggressive investment into job creation programs but warned that creating these jobs and improving the state will require revenue from additional taxes and fees.

"To create jobs a modern economy requires modern investments: investments by all of us, for all of us. That’s not a Democratic or Republican idea: it’s an economic and historic truth. It was true for our parents, it was true for our grandparents and it is a truth that has built our State and has built or country."

O’Malley has requested a number of unpopular new taxes this legislative session including an increase in income tax for about 20 percent of the population, a fee hike on water usage and sales tax on gasoline.

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"Asking our fellow citizens to do more will not be popular. But without anger, fear or meanness, let’s ask one anther: how much less do we think would be good for our children’s future? How much less education do we want? How much less public safety? How many fewer jobs? There are costs and there are values."

The Baltimore Sun editorial board wrote that the governor made a strong argument for continued investment in public services but did too little to make Marylanders comfortable with the cost.

"The governor provided a solid rationale for the need to continue making investments in education, infrastructure and environmental protection, and he made an explicit and detailed connection between those investments and that biggest term in his word cloud [jobs]. What he did not do was to speak to the concerns of those who appreciate his goals and share his belief that government can play a role in helping individuals to better their lives but who fear that he is asking too much from them at a time when they cannot afford it."

The AP reports that Republicans are already rebutting the governor’s address, saying the governor is relying too much on tax increases to close a $1.1 billion deficit.

In his speech, the governor also discussed the importance of legalizing same-sex marriages in the state.

It is not right or just that the children of gay couples should have lesser protections than the children of other families in our State. Nor would it be right to force religious institutions to conduct marriages that conflict with their own religious beliefs and teachings.

Read the full text of the speech here.

* National Journal’s Hotline’s Veepstakes Power Rankings released a list of potential vice-presidential nominees, analyzing them as Romney’s team might see them.

Virginia’s very own Gov. Bob McDonnell ranked No. 2 on the list.

"There is no Republican path to victory that doesn't include Virginia, and putting a governor with a 62 percent approval rating in the Commonwealth on the ticket would work wonders. McDonnell has been studying up on issues beyond his normal portfolio, and his profile as head of the Republican Governors Association means he's well-known to the money men who matter. He's got a good reputation with conservatives, too. But at a time when minorities are growing as a percentage of the national electorate, how much do Republicans want to bank on a ticket that features two white males?"

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio placed first and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman came in third.

* George Allen, a former Virginia governor who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, wrote an op-ed in The Fairfax Times about spurring  job growth through small businesses.

“By focusing on the vitality of small business, we can reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of America. Gone will be obstacles, interference, and crippling costs. In their place, we will have positive tax, reasonable regulatory, productive energy, and empowering education policies that will give Americans a competitive advantage for jobs, investment, and prosperity.”

* President Barack Obama is at a community center in Fairfax today to announce his plan to revive the housing market.

The president will speak about the economy at a fire station in Arlington on Friday.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the plan will help borrowers who are current on their mortgages refinance into lower-interest federally insured loans.

* Corey Stewart, Prince William County Board chairman, said on a radio program Monday that he would be running for lieutenant governor. He has yet to make a formal announcement.

*Hooray, the possibility of a Tim Tebow bill in Virginia bill may soon be a reality.

Dubbed “Tebow Bill,” a bill that would allow home-schooled students to play for public school sports teams, cleared the House Education Committee today.

A bill that would allow home-schooled students to play for public school sports teams has cleared a legislative hurdle.

Tebow was home-schooled in high school but still played for a public high school’s team.

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