Congress should provide funding for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure if lawmakers introduce a second economic stimulus package, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said last week at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

Paying for infrastructure costs is a “tremendous burden for our states to carry,” O’Malley said during a speech addressing fiscal responsibility.

With states facing a total of $40 billion in budget shortfalls, O’Malley said government officials are also charged with making tough decisions to close those shortfalls.

O’Malley inherited a $1.7 billion deficit when he took office 14 months ago and worked with the Legislature to cut spending by $1.8 billion. Lawmakers agreed to increase Maryland’s sales tax by one cent and increased its corporate income tax. The tax on a pack of cigarettes was raised by $1.

The governor said with the economy in disarray lawmakers need to address fiscal responsibility.

“Many states have had to deal with budget shortfalls by carving into priorities like public safety, public education, and health care,” O’Malley said.

He said the affirmation of Maryland’s gilt-edged rating last month is a result of that fiscal responsibility.

Maryland is one of only seven states with triple-A ratings from all three major rating agencies.

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