Leg­is­la­tors chime in on Ho­gan’s State of the State Ad­dress

The Dundalk Eagle - - NEWS - By MIA MCCASLIN mm­c­caslin@ches­pub.com

Gover­nor Larry Ho­gan spoke be­fore the 437th Ses­sion of the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 1, 2017 to present the an­nual State of the State ad­dress.

Ho­gan’s speech high­lighted the progress that Mary­land has made since he was first sworn into of­fice two years ago as well as em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion and eco­nomic growth in the state.

Flaunt­ing the state’s stel­lar record for ed­u­ca­tion, Ho­gan stated that one hun­dred per­cent of an­tic­i­pated state aid for ed­u­ca­tion is fully funded.

Ac­cord­ing to Ho­gan, two thirds of this year’s Mary­land bud­get went to­wards fund­ing ed­u­ca­tion.

On top of stan­dard ed­u­ca­tional fund­ing, Ho­gan has ded­i­cated an ad­di­tional $17.5 mil­lion specif­i­cally for tuition re­lief, “so that 14 Mary­land uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges can now cap tuition growth at two per­cent, rather than the five per­cent they were propos­ing,” Gover­nor Ho­gan said.

Ho­gan has also promised $7 mil­lion to give a lim­ited num­ber of chil­dren the chance to earn a schol­ar­ship to at­tend a pri­vate school. This leg­is­la­tion was pro­posed by Demo­cratic lead­ers in the assem­bly last year, but Ho­gan’s bud­get adds $2 mil­lion to their pro­posed $5 mil­lion ef­fort.

In ad­di­tion to ed­u­ca­tion, Ho­gan fo­cused on eco-- nomic growth, stat­ing, “I’m proud to re­port to you that Mary­land has now moved into the top ten states in the na­tion for over­all eco­nomic per­for­mance.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ho­gan’s ad­dress: Mary­land has added 73,000 new jobs, the un­em­ploy­ment rate has dropped to 4.2 per­cent, more new man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs have been cre­ated in Mary­land than all the other states in the mid-At­lantic re­gion com­bined and Mary­land now ranks num­ber eight in the na­tion in the rate of man­u­fac­tur­ing growth.

Mary­land is ranked as the fifth-most in­no­va­tive state in Amer­ica, and the state is also ranked third in the coun­try in en­tre­pre­neur­ial busi­ness growth.

“Busi­nesses are re­turn­ing to – and ex­pand­ing in – our state once again,” Ho­gan an­nounced. “Mary­land truly is ‘Open for Busi­ness’.”

Ho­gan also touched on the en­vi­ron­men­tal cleanup ini­tia­tives his of­fice has taken for the clean­ing of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay as well as the on-go­ing so­lu­tion to the opi­oid epi­demic.

Look­ing for­ward to an­other year of growth, Ho­gan re­peated through­out the ad­dress that although the state was def­i­nitely im­prov­ing, “but to­gether, we can – and we must – do more.”

“To me, [this ad­dress] is prob­a­bly the most promis­ing one we in Dis­trict Six have heard in a long time be­cause we see a growth of jobs and a cut in taxes and fees,” Sen­a­tor Johnny Ray Salling, Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Dis­trict 6, said of the speech. “We fi­nally see a gover­nor who cares and is friendly. Peo­ple and busi­nesses were leav­ing the state and now they’re com­ing back and I firmly be­lieve that this is be­cause of the work we’ve seen Gover­nor Ho­gan do.

“His prom­ises have all been true, and that is what I like about him. He is a man of his word.”

“The state of the state was fab­u­lous. The con­tent was di­rect. The chal­lenges were op­ti­mistic and the re­quests were fair,” Repub­li­can Dis­trict 6 rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ric Met­z­gar said. “I think it should af­fect us greatly in Bal­ti­more County with TradePoint At­lantic and the vi­sion he has to bring jobs.”

Met­z­gar in­di­cated that he was pleased with Ho­gan’s push to ad­dress the opi­oid is­sue. “Like I said in the ar­ti­cle I wrote last week,” Met­gar said, “we need to get the heroin epi­demic un­der con­trol but once we get the opi­oid thing rolled out, we can get peo­ple off drugs”

Met­z­gar also added that he was against the le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana, which was pro­posed in a bill that came to the assem­bly last week.

“It all comes back to fam­i­lies,” Met­z­gar ex­plained. “Get jobs and fam­i­lies taken care of, and I think Bal­ti­more County has a bright fu­ture ahead of us”

Del­e­gates Bob Long and Robin Grammer, also Repub­li­cans from Dis­trict 6, were un­avail­able for comment at press time.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FORT GE­ORGE G. MEADE PUB­LIC AF­FAIRS OF­FICE

Mary­land Gov. Larry Ho­gan de­liv­ered his State of the State ad­dress last week, em­pha­siz­ing im­prove­ments in ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing and job growth.

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