Below are excerpts of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s remarks, as prepared for delivery in his final State of the State address scheduled at noon on Thursday:
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has used the challenge of these times to make our government more efficient, and more effective.
We have cut spending by $9.1 billion.
We have made more cuts than any administration in modern Maryland history.
Today, we now have the smallest executive branch since 1973—and the budget I presented to you last week, puts us on a track to totally eliminate that structural deficit without the need for any new fees or taxes.
We remain one of only seven states that has maintained a triple-A bond rating all through the recession, and to this day.
Seven years ago—in response to the desires of our people—we set out to govern in a fundamentally different way.
Setting goals. Measuring performance. Hitting deadlines. Getting Results. Making the work of progress visible for you to see, and for me to see.
Every day, the test of any policy, action, or expenditure, has been whether or not it is actually working—working to produce the intended results.
This generation wants its government to be accountable for its action, and accountable for the results we seek.
Today in Maryland, you can go online right now, and see the 16 strategic goals we have set for our State’s progress, in the areas of job creation, education, security, sustainability, and health.
On some of these, we’ve already exceeded our initial goals. On others, we’re making progress. And on a few, we have a longer way to go.
Progress requires accountability.
But accountability means putting your commitment out there, for all of us to know and see, and hopefully to help drive.
We also have the chance, this session, to come together, forge consensus, and raise the minimum wage in Maryland.
To strengthen and grow our middle class…
This has been the North Star of everything we that we have done as an Administration. Our fiscal discipline. Our strategic investments. Our different way of governing for results.
But we, of course, are part of a larger national economy. And something is still very wrong.
We’ve lost sight of how our economy works, when it is working well.
Prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top.
It never has.
It’s built from the middle out—and from the middle up.
In a properly functioning capitalist economy, a thriving middle class is not a consequence of growth and prosperity, it is the source of growth and prosperity.
When every worker earns more money, every business has more customers, and – by the way – every taxpayer is relieved from funding poverty programs for workers who are being paid poverty-level wages.
No person who works full-time and plays by the rules, should be forced to raise their family in poverty. Not in our state!
Should we be satisfied as a people, as a country, as a State, if our corporations are becoming ever more profitable, and yet so many of our people are unemployed?
Can we really say that our economy is working, if our stock market is booming, but middle class earnings are declining?
The economy we seek, in Maryland, is an economy with a human purpose.
Where the ranks of our middle class are growing, so our economy itself can grow.
And the only way we’re going to grow our economy, is to grow our middle class.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is going to create more and better customers for Maryland businesses.
And that is why raising the minimum wage in Maryland, is not only good for the hundreds of thousands who will see a boost in their paychecks, it is good for every Marylander, because it is good for our economy.
It’s time to raise the minimum wage.