Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) used part of Wednesday’s State of the State speech to argue that Maryland has emerged from the national recession in better shape than other states because of “better choices.”
The speech, which is O’Malley’s seventh, began shortly after noon. He addressed a joint gathering of the Maryland General Assembly in the House of Delegates chamber and a statewide television audience.
O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, was expected to promote several initiatives he is pushing for passage in the current 90-day legislation session, including a gun-control package, repeal of the death penalty and a measure to jump-start the state’s wind-power industry.
Here are the speech excerpts released by his office Wednesday morning:
“Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether we give our children a future of more or a future of less, this too is a choice.
“Our story, Maryland’s story, is the story of better choices and better results.”
“No other state can say at once, that they are No. 1 in education five years in a row, No. 1 in holding down the cost of college tuition, No. 1 in innovation and entrepreneurship, No. 1 in human capital capacity, No. 1 in access to dental care for all children, regardless of income, No. 1 in PhD scientists and researchers, No. 1 in research and development, No. 1 in businesses owned by women and No. 1 in median family income.”
“When the national recession hit — wiping out jobs and revenues all across our country — other states tried to cut their way to prosperity. Many found this only made things worse. Laying off police officers, fire fighters and teachers, cutting public education, hiking up college tuition by double digits every single year, continuing down the merry path of cutting taxes for the very wealthy, hoping against cruel experience that somehow it would trickle down to the rest of their citizens.
“But in Maryland, we made better choices.
“We used the pressure of sinking revenues to make government more efficient. For the first time, we started setting public goals with more immediate deadlines. We started measuring weekly performance to make government more effective. We constrained budget growth and made government smaller. We strengthened our Rainy Day Fund and protected our Triple A Bond Rating. We fixed our pension system. We reformed hundreds of pages of regulations, streamlined permitting, and fast tracked jobs projects.
“We eliminated paperwork, simplified applications for business licenses, and reduced waiting times from months to days. We advanced public-private partnerships to create thousands of jobs at the Port of Baltimore. We put-real time information about the people’s government on the internet, converted paper note cards to digital files, and used smart maps to better target our limited resources.”
“We cut more state spending than any administration in modern Maryland history.
“Knowing that we could not cut our way to prosperity, we balanced record budget cuts with modern investments; investments in the very priorities that create jobs and expand opportunity: educating, innovating, and rebuilding for a better economic future.”
“Progress is only possible with fiscal responsibility and a balanced approach.
“The budget before you saves more than recommended by the Spending Affordability Guidelines. It increases both our Rainy Day Fund and our Cash Reserves. It protects our Triple A Bond Rating. It very nearly eliminates the structural deficit. And, it brings our total spending cuts to $8.3 billion dollars over the life of this administration.
“These are the choices which enable us to invest in a stronger and better future: more job creation, more opportunity, and a stronger, growing middle class.”
“Better choices. Better results. The proof is in our progress.”