SPIRO T. AGNEW
Governor of Maryland
Spiro Theodore Agnew was inaugurated as Maryland's 55th 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 politi-
cal subdivisions, for four years immediately preceding his election 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
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 Constitution;
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 have interest costs. He appointed executive-legislative
committees to study reform of the business tax structure and highway
financing. Planning was started on development and comprehensive
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