By Adam Kerlin and Rachel Leven
ANNAPOLIS – Proponents of lower taxes gathered late Wednesday night on a packed Lawyer’s Mall following the opening of the 2010 session of the Maryland legislature.
The protest featured an enthused group of citizens lobbying for decreased taxes and rejection of federal stimulus money. Many people were also vocal about their desire to see former Gov. Robert Ehrlich return to office.
“This is not an Ehrlich rally,” the former governor told reporters. “I’m in the bleachers for this one.”
Ehrlich, who said he will soon make a decision regarding the 2010 governor’s race, believes Wednesday’s rally was different than any other he has seen.
“This is a different animal,” said Ehrlich, who did not speak at the rally. “This is an economic movement, so you have a variety of social issues within this group.”
Attendees at the rally agreed.
Annapolis resident David Smith, 72, works as a tour guide at Capital City Colonials. Smith, who has lived in Maryland for almost 50 years, believes an increase in taxes would only burden residents in an already vulnerable time.
“We’re a little disappointed in the one-party state that Maryland has,” said Smith, referring to the fact that Democrats control the legislature and the governor’s office.
If Ehrlich ran and won the gubernatorial race he would be the first Maryland governor to serve non-consecutive terms since before terms shifted to four-year periods in 1851.
Only three Maryland governors have served nonconsecutive terms previously. The last of these, Gov. Daniel Martin, finished his final term in 1831 when he passed away.