Former state senator, tax reform leader dies
Goodman hailed for environmental, Tax Reform Initiative by Marylanders efforts
Former state Sen. William Joseph Goodman Sr. of Lanham died Monday at age 79 at his home after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
A Democrat serving in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1963 to 1971 and state senator from 1971 to 1974, Goodman left his mark on state and county politics through environmental and tax reforms.
Goodman was the author of Tax Reform Initiative by Marylanders, or TRIM, a public referendum approved in 1978 that made it more difficult for county officials to increase property taxes in Prince George's County. Due to TRIM, the county tax rate can only be changed by referendum or by enabling legislation from the state.
"[TRIM is] one of the things that has made Prince George's County a little more of an affordable place to live in," said TRIM activist Judy Robinson of the legislation.
Goodman also made a name for himself working on environmental legislation, such as the Tidal Wetlands Act of 1970, before there was a widespread understanding of comprehensive environmental policy, said his son, Mike Goodman.
"He was considered a maverick in his time," Mike Goodman said.
Goodman worked expeditiously to protect environmentally sensitive areas in the state, said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach.
"He was really one of the first elected officials in the state who recognized the need to preserve and protect the environment," Miller said. "Now, 40 years later, we've preserved more agricultural land than any state in the union."
Goodman was born Jan. 22, 1930, in Hot Springs, Ark., and only completed school through the seventh grade, his son said. From early on, he compensated for his lack of an education with a sociable nature to accomplish his goals, Mike Goodman said.
Goodman served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1944 to 1947 and the U.S. Marines from 1947 to 1951, before moving to New Carrollton and later to Lanham. He was employed by C & P Telephone Co. from 1952 to 1986.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Sue Goodman; eight children, 22 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held for him from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Rendon-Hale funeral Home in Lanham. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Matthias Catholic Church, located at 9475 Annapolis Road in Lanham.