Commentary: Maryland governor outlines plans for recovery and growth
While we still have a ways to go, Maryland is better positioned than other states to recover from the national recession stronger and sooner. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Maryland one of the two best states in America for innovation and entrepreneurship, and since January we have created 40,000 jobs -- at a rate that is more than double the national growth rate (with the key sectors of construction and retail gaining 5,500 jobs this year).
To continue moving Maryland forward, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and I have been fighting to expand opportunities for Maryland families, to create jobs and to create the conditions for economic growth in our state.
Every family and every small business in Maryland has felt the impact of this global downturn.
Throughout, our administration has remained laser-focused on creating and saving jobs. At the same time, we have protected our priorities and strengthened our core industries like bioscience, cybersecurity and information technology. We've made record investments in the skills and education of our people and made college more affordable.
To restore fiscal responsibility to Annapolis, we've engaged our business community and cut state spending by $5.6 billion, making state government more effective and efficient. Today our state government is spending less than it was four years ago. And because of our sound fiscal policies, Maryland is one of just eight states that earns a Triple A bond rating, saving taxpayers millions and allowing us to invest record amounts to build and renovate Maryland's public schools.
To put Marylanders back to work, we created the Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit, which provides $5,000 for every Marylander a business hires off unemployment rolls. More and more small businesses are taking advantage of the tax credit.
And we have been able to guarantee nearly $6 million in small-business loans, helping to save and create nearly 400 jobs through the Maryland Small Business Credit Recovery Program, which we created to provide state-funded guarantees of privately financed small-business loans. We know access to credit is the lifeline for any small business, and we've been working with banks in Maryland, large and small, to increase lending to Maryland businesses.
To strengthen our key growth sectors, we launched BioMaryland 2020, a 10-year, $1.3 billion investment in our life sciences industry, and we expanded the Biotech Tax Credit. Additionally, we launched CyberMaryland, which outlines a strategic plan for making Maryland the nation's epicenter for cybersecurity. In fact, in May the federal government announced that the nation's Cyber Command will be located in Maryland, bringing 21,000 new jobs to the region.
Our foundation is strong, but we must continue to move Maryland forward and we must remain focused on creating jobs for today and tomorrow. That is why, earlier this year, I announced InvestMaryland, which is aimed at creating a public-private partnership to fuel venture capital investment in our innovation economy, such as Maryland bioscience companies.
There is no more powerful place in our state than a family's home and nothing more important for protecting that home than a job. To move Maryland forward, we are fighting hard to create and save jobs and to protect our middle class families.
Martin O'Malley (D) is governor of Maryland.