The Maryland Green Party Responds to the 2015 State of the State Address

   In response to his first State of the State address this week, the Maryland Green Party urges Governor Larry Hogan to consider Green values as he plots his administration's "new direction" for Maryland. Governor Hogan spent a significant amount of his address outlining plans for resolving what he described as "economic problems". Governor Hogan focused on "high taxes, over-regulation, and an anti-business attitude" as the basis for what the Governor views as sub-par growth and competitiveness. The Green Party urges Governor Hogan and all members of the General Assembly to adapt alternative means for measuring the state's success, and to recognize that stagnant economic growth - regardless of planning or regulatory schemes - will be inevitable as we continue to use more resources than are naturally available to us. In 2013, Governor Martin O'Malley introduced a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as an alternate means for measuring success beyond traditional productivity measures. While the state's Department of Natural Resources advertises the GPI measure as an "index for sustainable prosperity," the O'Malley administration did little to promote the measure. The Green Party urges the Hogan administration to promote the GPI as the main tool for determining the success of Maryland's business, regulatory and tax agenda. Governor Hogan highlighted several of his administration's tax priorities, including the elimination of income tax on retirement and pension income and cuts to taxes on personal property for small business owners. The Green Party believes that the Governor's responsibility as chief executive is the prosperity of all Marylanders, not just those living on a public service pension or those who own a business. In order to ensure economic justice for all Marylanders, the Green Party calls for an immediate increase in the state minimum wage (currently set to phase in by mid-2018), an additional increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and the establishment of a statewide living wage. The Green Party also calls for a national basic income guarantee ("Social Security for All") and universal, single-payer health care ("Medicare for All"). Maryland can be a leader among states by implementing both programs on the state level. Governor Hogan pledged to improve public transportation, and promised to "give counties and municipalities the most money they have received for road improvements since Fiscal Year 2009". The Green Party urges the Hogan administration to resolve decades of uncertainty over the Baltimore Red Line and DC-area Purple Line projects, and make a commitment to funding safe and reliable transportation for all Marylanders, even those without access to private transit. Governor Hogan said that it is "time for a new approach" on protecting the Chesapeake Bay. The Green Party is concerned that the Hogan administration's "new approach" relies on a continually-disproved "hands-off" approach to waste and resource exploitation. The Green Party urges a national fee-and-dividend system for lowering climate emissions, under which producers of climate-changing gases would be charged per unit of emissions. Maryland can once again be a leader among states by moving toward adopting this model, and expanding it to nitrogen, phosphorous and other water-based pollutants. Governor Hogan highlighted the value of the Chesapeake Bay and the issue of stormwater management early in his address, and promised to repeal the Stormwater Remediation Fee, which he said taxes Marylanders "for the rain that falls on their homes." The Green Party urges Governor Hogan show his commitment to environmental protection by abandoning the disingenuous use of the phrase "rain tax" and treating the issue of how the design of our homes, neighborhoods, streets, farms and stormwater systems effects our natural environment with the respect the topic deserves. Governor Hogan noted the seriousness of Maryland's heroin abuse issue, and called for stakeholders to develop a "plan to tackle the epidemic." The Green Party calls for an end to the failed "War on Drugs", the legalization of drugs and treating drug abuse as a public health - not criminal - issue. The party calls on Governor Hogan to include legalization advocates in the stakeholders he invites to develop a heroin epidemic response. Governor Hogan concluded his first State of the State address with a call for campaign finance and election reform. The Green Party agrees with the Governor's statement of support for an "honest and open political process that challenges convention." The party supports Governor Hogan's call for public financing of Gubernatorial campaigns and his call for independent redistricting to address rampant gerrymandering. The Green Party asks Governor Hogan to amend his proposal for a "bipartisan" redistricting commission to a "nonpartisan" commission, in which minor party and politically unaffiliated individuals would feel welcome to participate in suggesting reforms to Maryland's electoral system.    

Maryland Green Party Supports Senate Bill 29, Calls For State-Wide Fracking Ban

For Immediate Release:January 26, 2015Contacts: Brian Bittner, Chair, 443-449-4159The Maryland Green Party supports Senate Bill 29 and calls for a state-wide ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas. The Green Party supports the idea - as Senate Bill 29 states - that "a person may not engage in the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the exploration or production of natural gas in the state" of Maryland.  Fracking involves the introduction of toxic chemicals into underwater rock formations. The spread of these chemicals cannot be reliably predicted, potentially poisoning groundwater for communities or entire towns. The Green Party calls for a rapid reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and nuclear power toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources.More Information:Maryland Green Partyhttp://www.mdgreens.org410-691-3204

Maryland Green Party Supports House Bill 4, Calls For Immediate Increase in State Minimum Wage

For Immediate Release:January 22, 2015Contacts: Brian Bittner, Chair, 443-449-4159 The Maryland Green Party supports House Bill 4 - to immediately raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state's minimum wage would otherwise increase in phases, not reaching $10.10 until July 1, 2018. The Green Party supports a $10.10 minimum wage as a necessary but insufficient starting point for fair pay of all Maryland workers. The party supports an immediate additional minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and an ultimate establishment of a state-wide living wage, which may be higher than $15 per hour in some areas. The Green Party's platform calls for "Social Security for All" (a universal basic income or basic income guarantee) granted to all citizens regardless of health or employment. Such a program would allow all individuals to afford basic food and shelter. The Green Party's key value of economic justice states that it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. The party believes that a successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a "living wage" which reflects the real value of a person's work.More Information:Maryland Green Partyhttp://www.mdgreens.org410-691-3204

Maryland Green Party Once Again Retains Political Party Status

For Immediate Release:January 17, 2015 The Maryland Green Party has once again retained its status as a political party under Maryland law and is once again qualified to nominate candidates for all offices statewide. The party's efforts in 2014 maintained its status for the 2016 and 2018 elections. Under state law, the party was required for the fifth time in its history to submit 10,000 valid signatures of Maryland voters supporting the existence of the Green Party. The party had successfully submitted petitions in 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2010. On December 30, 2014, the party submitted 17,828 signatures to officials at the State Board of Elections in Annapolis. On Friday afternoon state election officials posted public notice that at least 10,000 of those signatures were verified. The Maryland Green Party is the twenty-first state affiliate of the Green Party to retain its political party status in anticipation of the 2016 national election. The party's success in maintaining ballot access nationally has improved significantly since the 2012 national election, when 14 Green Party affiliates were ballot-qualified at the end of 2010. The Maryland Green Party intends to participate in the nomination of a Green Party candidate for President of the United States, as well as nominating candidates for federal, state and local office in 2016 and 2018. In 2012, the Green Party of the United States nominated Jill Stein as its Presidential candidate in Baltimore at its national convention organized by Maryland Greens.  

Green Party Makes Gains in Ballot Access Nation-Wide

According to Ballot Access News, the Green Party is guaranteed ballot access for its 2016 Presidential nominee in 19 states. This is a 25% increase from results in 2010, when the Green Party was guaranteed ballot access in 14 states as a result of that year's election.In comparison to the party's election results from 2010, the Green Party picked up ballot access for the 2016 election in Delaware, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The Green Party did not lose ballot access in any state relative to 2010's results.This total, of course, is incomplete. Our ballot status will not be finalized until after we complete and submit our petition by December 31st of this year. We have surpassed our goal of 15,000 signatures and are preparing to submit our petition to the State Board of Elections for verification. It is still possible that enough signatures will be disqualified to invalidate our petition. We need your help to continue collecting signatures and be ready to put petitioners on the street immediately if our petition should be invalidated sometime next month. Please contribute today to help support our petition drive! We rely on your contributions - not outside groups funded with secret money - to do all our work. Thank you for your continued support!