Thanks for joining us
I've called a Special Session to begin May 14th, because there's too much at stake not to move forward.
Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Building America's #1 schools, making college more affordable, continuing to drive down decades low violent crime, saving the Blue Crab and restoring the Bay, investing in green-tech, unleashing the healing powers of the biosciences, eradicating childhood hunger, defending our Triple A Bond rating, these too are all choices. And none of them are free. All of these things hang in the balance.
That's why we need a balanced approach to move forward. Because a cuts only approach helps no one, and harms all. A cuts only approach harms every family. A cuts only approach harms every library, and every local police department. A cuts only approach raises tuition for every student. A cuts only approach slashes the investments we make in life-saving, innovative research and development.
The better approach, is a balanced approach of cuts, investment, and -- yes -- revenues, A balanced approach in the state where we pay the 3rd lowest state and local taxes (as a share of income) in America, the state where we pay the 9th lowest sales tax, have the 8th lowest tax burden on mature firms, and the 12th lowest burden on new investment.
Four quick notes about fiscal plan to be considered in the special session:
It will include almost $600 million in further spending reductions across FY12 and FY13 than were originally proposed in our January budget proposal.
It will come in under Spending Affordability Committee guidelines for the 6th year in row. This exceeds the targeted 50 percent reduction in the recession/revenue-driven structural deficit.
The proposed budget grows by only 2.6% over FY12 -- the third lowest growth rate in two decades.
But the bigger story is that, excluding appropriations to the Rainy Day Fund, State General Fund spending will actually decrease by $380 million in FY13.
This proposal will increase the projected fund balance to $204 million. This fund balance, coupled with the 5% Rainy Day Fund, means that we have almost $1 billion in reserves ($928 million) to protect Maryland's standing as one of just eight states to earn a Triple A Bond Rating, certified by all three agencies.
By way of comparison, our proposed January budget preserved a $164 million fund balance and the Sine Die conference committee's compromise plan preserved a $155 million fund balance. The so-called "doomsday" budget was actually out of balance by $71 million.
To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments; investments by all of us for all of us. This economic and historic truth was true for our parents, true for our grandparents, and over these past five years it has proven itself true for us too. But to continue moving forward, we have to choose. And that's why we're convening next week. Thank you.