Hogan Touts Economic Growth in State of the State
Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday spent more than 10 percent of his 2017 State of the State address — more than any other topic — focusing on the Maryland economy.
“Businesses are returning to – and expanding in – our state once again. Maryland truly is Open for Business,” Hogan said.
In the speech, he called on the legislature to pass the “Common Sense Paid Sick Leave Act,” which would provide paid sick leave to larger companies and uses tax breaks to encourage smaller companies to offer the benefit.
The Montgomery County Council already has passed paid sick leave legislature that affects almost all businesses. Hogan’s proposal, as written, would pre-empt local sick leave legislation.
Hogan also asked the legislature to repeal what he calls the “Road Kill Bill,” legislation that requires the governor to put in writing why certain transportation projects get funding. Hogan has argued the law threatens the progress of transportation projects.
In the address before delegates and senators in the State House in Annapolis, he rattled off a number of statistics that showed growth in the state economy:
- Maryland is among the top 10 states for overall economic performance;
- The state is ranked eighth in the rate of manufacturing growth;
- The state is ranked third in entrepreneurial business growth;
- Maryland added 73,000 jobs, and an unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2 percent;
- The state has the second lowest percentage of people living below the poverty rate; and
- The state has the highest median household income in the country;
Montgomery County, specifically, got a single reference in the address. As an achievement from last year, Hogan singled out “Noah’s Law,” a drunken driving law passed in the wake of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta. Hogan called him “a true Maryland hero.”
During the speech, Hogan noted his administration’s spending on education, including $6.4 billion for public education, $256 million for community colleges, capital spending for school projects, and $7 million for scholarships for children to earn scholarships to private schools. Hogan said the state would expand the P-Tech schools initiative, which combines a career-focused curriculum for high school systems with college-level coursework.
The governor called on the legislature to offer relief to retirees, cut taxes for first responders and retired military, improve the state pension system, enact an effort to prevent opioid abuse, and pass legislation that would livestream all General Assembly sessions.