On February 5, Governor Larry Hogan delivered his annual State of the State Address to the Maryland General Assembly. His address was filled with optimism and confidence while also noting the country’s toxic, divisive political environment. While acknowledging new leadership in Senate President Ferguson and House Speaker Jones, and saluting the legacy of President Miller and Speaker Busch, Governor Hogan praised the collaborative work of Maryland’s elected officials.
Governor Hogan noted the strength of the state – more businesses are now open and the state has seen the largest decline in unemployment in its history. Additionally, he highlighted the investment of $9 billion in 800 road and bridge projects, his commitment of $6 billion – the most ever in the state’s history – to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and laid out his legislative priorities for the 2020 session.
A top issue is keeping retired Marylanders in Maryland with the introduction of his Retirement Tax Reduction Act, which proposes no Maryland state income tax for retirees with incomes of $50,000 or less and a tax reduction of 50% for retirees with incomes of less than $100,000 – helping an estimated 230,000 Marylanders.
Governor Hogan shared that more than 75% of Maryland’s entire capital budget goes toward education. The Building Opportunity ACT of 2020, if passed, will provide $3.9 billion in funding, fulfilling every request of every jurisdiction in the State for school construction funding.
Other key issues of priority for the Governor included strengthening state ethics laws, addressing the violent crime in Baltimore City, and increasing penalties for those who use guns to commit violent crimes, those who possess stolen firearms and guns with obliterated serial numbers, and those who use, possess, or supply illegal guns to violent criminals.
Though Governor Hogan offered a visionary, optimistic address of the state of the State, the coming weeks will reveal the tone and direction of this year’s legislative session. So far, the General Assembly is laser-focused on funding the Kirwan Commission and with so many changes in committee leadership, it is difficult to gauge this early in the session, what bills will gain traction or not.
Follow our blog in the coming weeks as we provide a deeper dive on key issues and updates from Annapolis. For more information about how our team can help you achieve your government affairs goals, contact us or visit our web site.