- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

One week from tonight in Annapolis, the General Assembly ends its regular 2008 session, during which Gov. Martin O’Malley and the legislature have done everything possible to hit law-abiding Marylanders with with more taxes and regulations, while leaving the state a more welcoming place for illegal aliens and criminal felons.

The General Assembly has had time to consider whether to declare walking the official state exercise and to impose crushing new regulatory burdens on private enterprise like a mandated 25 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions (whatever the threat to private-sector jobs). Lawmakers discussed whether to create an “outdoor” exemption for Baltimore County restaurants to the smoking ban (a Senate committee rejected a proposal to do this.) And, thanks to the General Assembly, more jurisdictions will soon be able to put up speed cameras (better known as revenue traps) — to shellack otherwise law-abiding Marylanders who try to keep up with the flow of traffic in places where posted speed limits are unrealistically low.

Then, there are serious issues like fixing the mess that the governor and the General Assembly made at last fall’s special session. Mr. O’Malley and Senate President Mike Miller both say they want to get rid of the 6 percent tax on computer services that has prompted angry warnings from businesses about moving to Virginia. The problem is that the politicians insist on making up any lost revenue by imposing higher taxes on the most wealthy (i.e., the most productive) Marylanders — another way of chasing jobs across the Potomac. The General Assembly’s action is being well received in Richmond, where Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, Fairfax Republican, released an open letter to the computer companies urging them to relocate to Virginia, where the business climate is less hostile.

While productive Americans are being pushed out of state, Maryland continues to be a welcoming place for lawbreakers. Legislation requiring that Marylanders present proof that they are legally in the country in order to receive certain welfare benefits was killed, as was a bill that would reduce state funding for sanctuary cities. And a bill denying “good-time credits” to violent sexual predators is apparently dead as well. But the legislature did appoint commissions to study the death penalty and illegal immigration in Maryland. Given the political leanings of the politicians appointing them, we fully expect the panels to be packed with people who will tell us that capital punishment is always wrong and that the recent influx of illegals is an economic boon to the state.

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