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Maryland Manual, 1967-68
Volume 173, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)
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SPIRO T. AGNEW
Governor of Maryland
Spiro Theodore Agnew was inaugurated as Maryland's 65th elected
governor on January 25, 1967. He took office with several distinctions.
He was the fifth Republican ever elected governor in this predomi-
nantly Democratic State; the first governor of Maryland to be born
in this century; one of the youngest, at age 48, to hold the office; and
the first American of Greek descent to become the chief executive
of a State.
Governor Agnew, a lawyer by profession, was County Executive of
Baltimore County, one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing
political subdivisions, for four years immediately preceding his elec-
tion as governor. It was the only previous elective office he had held.
His administration as governor was launched with an impressive
series of legislative accomplishments, achieved through a close work-
ing relationship with the Democratic-controlled Maryland General
Assembly.
These included a fiscal reform program which, for the first time,
based the State income tax on a graduated scale instead of a flat
rate and gave local governments a major revenue source other than
the property tax; an open housing law that was the first on a state-
wide basis south of the Mason-Dixon Line; implementing legislation
for the convention to rewrite Maryland's one hundred-year-old Con-
stitution; and authorization to plan and build four additional toll
crossings of the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore Harbor.
The Governor created within his office a Task Force on Modern
Management to study waste and duplication in the State government
and to recommend improvements. He also initiated with legislative
approval a new policy of substantial cash down payments on capital
improvements to save interest costs. He appointed executive-legisla-
tive committees to study reform of the business tax structure and
highway financing. Planning was started on development of compre-
hensive air and water pollution control programs.
An early mark of the Agnew administration was a closer working
relationship with local governments. The Governor personally visited
the heads of county and city governments in the State's twenty-four
political subdivisions to establish this liaison. Nearly eighty-five per-
cent of the additional revenue raised from the tax reform program
also went directly to local governments, primarily to finance educa-
tional and police protection improvements and to provide real estate
tax credits for the elderly—needs that otherwise would have fallen on
local property taxes.
The Governor is a native of Baltimore City. He was born November
9, 1918, the only son of Theodore Spiro Agnew, a restaurant operator
and a leader of the city's Greek community, and the former Margaret
Akers of Bristol, Virginia. His father came to this country in 1897
at the age of 21 from the village of Gargalianos, in Messenia, Pelop-
onnesus, Greece. Both parents are deceased. The family name Agnew
was shortened from the Greek name Anagnostopoulos by the Gov-
ernor's father.

 
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Maryland Manual, 1967-68
Volume 173, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)
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