Maryland State of the State Address 2010
By Stateline Staff
ANNAPOLIS, Md - Following is the prepared text of Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) 2010 state of the state address:
Speaker Busch, President Miller, Lieutenant Governor Brown; Treasurer Kopp, Comptroller Franchot; Attorney General Gansler; Attorney General Curran; colleagues in city and county government; men and women of the Maryland General Assembly; former governors; Members of the Cabinet; Congressman Kratovil, Congressman Ruppersberger, Katie O'Malley; my fellow citizens:
I'd like to ask that all of us observe a moment of silence in honor of the brave Marylanders who we've lost this year fighting for our country abroad in Iraq & Afghanistan,…and for the people of Haiti who are recovering from that devastating earthquake.
We've said good-bye to a number of great Marylanders over this past year: this morning, Maryland U.S. Senator Mac Mathias, and just last week, we said good-bye to former First Lady Pat Hughes. Governor Hughes, our thoughts and comfort continue to be with you and your family.Introduction
It is an honor to join you here, once again, in this historic building - the oldest State Capitol in America - where Marylanders have come together, year after year, to renew our democracy and to move our State forward. In this place of the people's will, we express our differences of opinion mindful of the fact that all of us, gathered here to serve, act on behalf of Maryland, and there is only One Maryland.
We are here because we care about people - all people. And to safeguard our children's future, we are committed to the work of justice, security, job creation, environmental sustainability, and fiscal responsibility, understanding that progress for one requires progress for all.
In times of great adversity, we don't make excuses - we make progress. We set aside partisanship and embrace the power of citizenship, guided by the values which unite us: our belief in the dignity of every individual; our belief in our own responsibility to advance the common good; our shared understanding that there is a unity to spirit and matter, that one person can make a difference, each of us must try, and God loves even the partial victories.
Today I'd like to talk with you about how we can help our businesses, large and small, to create jobs, save jobs, and expand opportunity. I'd like to talk with you about the tough, but right, choices we must make together; and about the importance of being fiscally responsible so that we can protect homeownership and defend the hard-won progress of the hardworking Maryland families we serve.Fiscal Responsibility
The choices we've made together as One Maryland over these past three years have allowed us to weather this severe economic storm better than most states.
We have used the pressure of shrinking revenues to create higher performance, stronger connections, smarter interventions, and more intelligent standards of care. The ongoing financial crisis hascalled upon us to re-imagine what a government can do well, and to redesign better ways to serve and protect the people of Maryland as we move forward.
But just as families and businesses have seen their incomes decline, so too have state revenues - the steepest decline across the 50 states in modern history.
Every year, this Administration has submitted - and you have passed - a state budget that is not only balanced, but a budget that has been introduced, at the outset, within the limits of spending affordability guidelines.
For the first time in more than 40 years, the budget I propose this year calls for lower general fund spending than four years ago and it will bring total spending cuts and reductions this term to $5.6 billion.
We have chosen to be fiscally responsible; indeed, progress is only possible with fiscal responsibility. Maryland is one of only seven states in America that continues to retain a Triple A Bond Rating - a seal of fiscal responsibility certified by all three major rating agencies.
As a result of the choices we've made in the face of adversity, the state of our State is stronger than most,and in areas like public education, it is stronger than every other state in the union.Our Economy
But this national economic downturn - the worst since the Great Depression - has dealt crushing blows of joblessness, home foreclosure and displacement to tens of thousands of Maryland families.
Although fourth quarter economic growth was the strongest our country has seen in six years, the storm is not over.
Wall Street has been stabilized but Main Street still suffers. Every Maryland family has been hit in some way: neighbors who still can't find work; fellow citizens tossing and turning all night, worried about how they'll afford this month's heating bill or last month's mortgage or rent; family-owned businesses and family farms struggling just to survive; children who go to bed hungry, wake up hungry, and go to school hungry.
I want to share with you a brief excerpt from a letter I received from a woman named "Martha" who writes:
"…[T]imes are hard and things are tight,… I am living on the edge, my rent for my apartment is one month behind, my phone and internet service is scheduled to be cut off. I have been trying to find employment and am 53 years old. I never thought that I would be going through this at this point in my life."
In every part of our State I meet good people who have worked hard all their lives, only to watch their piece of the American dream slip away because of forces seemingly beyond their control,…who want only an opportunity to work, and the freedom to build a better life for themselves and their children.Protecting Homeownership
It has been said that the most powerful place in the world is the family home. Over these last difficult years, far too much of that power has been taken from us. When just one Marylander has to look their child in the eyes and tell them " the mortgage company told us we have to move," it affects all of us. When a house is boarded up and left vacant, it impacts entire neighborhoods, entire communities, entire towns, cities, counties, and entire states.
Because of your work and the persistence of non-profit housing counselors and pro bono lawyers, many homes in Maryland have been saved, but many more have been lost in the relentless, grinding, home-destroying machinery of national mortgage companies. If they can pick up the phone to put a family into a home, shouldn't they be able to pick up the phone before throwing a family out of their home?
I need your help,… I need your help to stand up for homeowners in Maryland and put them on an equal footing with these faceless giants. I need you to pass legislation this year that forces mortgage companies to come to the settlement table before they can throw another Maryland family out on the street.Creating Jobs
But it is not enough to defend, we must also advance. There is no government program that is as important or as empowering as a job. Therefore, progress requires that we focus the energies of this session on three primary actions: creating jobs, saving jobs, and protecting jobs.
Last week, President Obama rightly said, "the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers."
To rebuild and restore our economy, we must help our businesses create and save jobs. Jobs from innovation in science, security, and discovery. Jobs of noble and valuable service. Jobs that create and rebuild our vital connections of travel, trade, and business. Jobs that revitalize and restore our environment. Jobs in teaching, manufacturing, and healing - they all matter.
This month we concluded a nation-leading public/private partnership at the Port of Baltimore that will create 5,700 new jobs in construction and port operations; and just last week General Motors announced that it will build its new generation of electric hybrid engines in our State, in Baltimore County - creating new green manufacturing jobs and new opportunities.
This job-creating partnership was only possible because of the investments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with the strong actions of the State of Maryland, County Executive Jim Smith of Baltimore County, and businesses, and labor - all working together.
And together, we can and must do more.
That's why, this year I'm asking you to create a $3,000 tax credit for every person hired off of Maryland's unemployment rolls.
And because small businesses create two out of every three jobs in Maryland, I'm also asking you to pass emergency legislation to provide $83 million of relief from rapidly escalating Unemployment Insurance Premiums.
What's more, because small business lending has dried up during this national economic downturn, I'm asking for your support for extending our loan guaranty program to small businesses, as we simplify the application process so that we can create the conditions which allow small businesses to create and save jobs.
Here in Maryland, thanks to President Obama's leadership and Maryland's effectiveness, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has helped us not only to protect public safety, public education, and public health, it has also allowed us to create or save 19,000 jobs. And in the year ahead, Recovery Act reinvestment projects will continue to create and save thousands and thousands of greatly needed construction jobs in our State.
Working with private businesses in our construction trades, I'm asking you to create jobs through major investments in this year's proposed capital budget[ - rebuilding schools, rebuilding roads and water infrastructure, rebuilding community colleges, and science labs; important work that will support over 20,000 construction jobs in Maryland next year.
I am also asking you to advance smarter growth through better mass transit with important long-term investments like the Purple Line and Red Line, which will create jobs.
Working with imaginative redevelopers and green developers, I'm asking you to revitalize our historic downtowns and Main Streets - along with new green neighborhoods - by passing a new Sustainable Communities Tax Credit. Building on the success of the Heritage Tax Credits, we know that we can leverage tens of millions of dollars in private investment to create hundreds of jobs now, and thousands moving forward.
Thanks to Lt. Governor Brown's leadership from the first days of this Administration - and the advocacy of Senator Mikulski and our entire Congressional delegation - 60,000 additional jobs are coming to Maryland now and in the years ahead, because of BRAC: the Base Realignment and Closure process.
We need to leverage the enormous job-creating potential of more than 50 federal facilities in Maryland, which along with our businesses and institutions of science, discovery, and higher learning, are the backbone of Maryland's Innovation Economy: life sciences, bio-tech, high-tech, clean-tech, green tech, and Cyber Security. Our work is to leverage these Innovation Assets to create more jobs and more opportunities for more Maryland families.
With the enormous potential of Maryland's Innovation Economy, we are seeking to reinvigorate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education in every part of our State; to reengage our students with environmental and financial literacy; and to create in our workforce the "Skills2Compete" through a coordinated statewide strategy of promoting skills training, apprenticeships, and post-secondary education.
And because Maryland's greatest economic asset is our highly educated and highly skilled workforce, I am asking you to invest, once again, in the children of Maryland with a record level of funding for K-12 Education.Not by Chance, By Choice
Progress does not happen by itself, it is the product of choices.
It is not by chance but by choice that we now do more than most every other state to support Veterans upon their return home from service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
It is not by chance but by choice that for the second year in a row, we have created the #1 ranked, best public school system in America.
It is not by chance but by choice that - alone among the 50 states - we have made college more affordable for more families in Maryland by going four years in a row without a penny's increase in college tuition for Maryland residents.
It is not by chance but by choice that together that we have driven violent crime in Maryland to its lowest levels since 1987- including the steepest three-year reduction in homicides since the 1970s, and a 46% reduction in juvenile homicides over the same period.
It is not by chance but by choice that the Port of Baltimore, once a laughingstock of failed homeland security efforts, now receives near-perfect security reviews from the United States Coast Guard.
It is not by chance, but by choice that 146,000 more people in Maryland have health coverage today who did not have it three years ago - 65,000 of them children.
It is not by chance but by choice that we have increased opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses to record levels.
It is not by chance, but by choice that the four rivers of the Chesapeake Bay are now getting healthier every year rather than sicker; that we have preserved five and half times the amount of open space than we did before; or that the Blue Crab population is rebounding; or that we are finally embracing the power of a new aquaculture industry to bring back the native Oyster.
As we move Maryland forward out of this recession and into better times, we will need to continue to make the tough, but critically important choices that will expand opportunity and strengthen families; the choices that grow our middle class and allow us to make progress together.
The choices that give all of our children the education they need to compete and win in a global economy. The choices that make us safer and more secure every day. The choices that strengthen our laws against child predators. The choices that make it possible for Maryland to eradicate childhood hunger. The choices that make us a leader in energy conservation and renewable energy. The choices that rebuild our cities, our towns, and our inner beltway neighborhoods in a Maryland that is Smart, Green and Growing. The choices that restore the American dream and allow us to make "Genuine Progress." The choices that protect Maryland, the choices that make Maryland, Maryland - for our children and our children's children.One Maryland, Forward Together
But in order to move forward as One Maryland, there is another kind of work which we must do as a people. It is not the work of our hands or of our heads, but of our hearts. For there is a dark thing that has penetrated deep into our collective soul, a thing that has to be recognized, seen for what it is and rejected by us all. It is the debilitating and un-American idea that our children will not enjoy a better quality of life than we have,…that somehow we are destined to decline, backslide and fail…
With every fiber of my being, I reject this notion. I find it utterly unacceptable and so do the generations ahead of ours.
This recession will end. Our journey is not over. And our best days are still in front of us.
Ironically, it is the very immensity of the problems we face with respect to climate change, terror, resource scarcity, energy security, and health that is driving innovation in every sphere of education, technology and life-sciences - endeavors we count among Maryland's greatest competitive economic strengths.
From the schools, the laboratories, and the companies of Maryland are emerging the discoveries and technologies that will remake our world. We are not at the edge of a cliff; we are at the threshold of brilliant science, innovative technology and remarkable discoveries that will transform, for the better, the way we "feed, fuel, and heal" this world of ours.
We have a hundred years of creative work ahead of us - brilliant, sustaining, innovative service, a profound act of citizenship and participation that can bring us closer to each other and to this extraordinary place we call home.Conclusion
Connecting Maryland's journey to its resources, creativity and dreams is our great work.
To the cynical who say government is not the answer, I ask, what then is the question? If the question is how to create jobs,… how to get our economy going again, how to re-imagine what it means to be a Marylander in these challenging times, and how to create greater freedom, opportunity, and justice for all,… then a working and effectivegovernment is an indispensible and essential part ofthe answer. But only part; for government cannot be a substitute for citizenship. It can never replace the power of the individual, the power of individual creativity, the power of individual choices responsibly and courageously made.
Each of us is needed. All of us must act. The truth is, every person has an important story to tell, an important story to live. Together, over time, the people of Maryland have written a narrative that endures and grows. It is not a story of failure or fear. It is a story of genius and courage, threads of our being, stitched to an uncertain future wherein we act with courage, respect, and conscience to make a better life for our children.
For Maryland is not simply an isolated political entity or label outside there somewhere. It is something we share with one another and with the generations that will follow ours. The children born in our city centers are just as much our heritage and gift as are the tidewaters of the Eastern Shore and mountains of Western Maryland. There is no resting point where we finally know that we have secured a safe and prosperous future. The principles that inform our deeds and actions demand constant work , vigilance, reaffirmation, and reawakening.
We are blessed to have inherited the backbone and mettle of generations past. The rivers, forests, shores, and waters of this extraordinary state are ever our allies. And with us always are the quiet prayers of gratitude and encouragement of future generations watching.
In the eyes of every child is a shining message that we are born to be good, and that we experience our goodness by being kind and generous to each other.
May we embody this wisdom in our dreams and in the actions we take,… as One Maryland,… moving forward,… together.
Original Stateline Speech