Governor Martin O'Malley today joined Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., House Speaker Michael E. Busch, and Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown to sign legislation focused on job creation, protecting Marylanders' shared priorities, and improving our quality of life.
"To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: investments by all of us, for all of us," said Governor O'Malley. "These investments are not free. That's why with the FY 2013 budget, we've taken a balanced approach of cuts, revenues and investment to protect Maryland's Triple A bond rating and put our State back on the path to fiscal responsibility. Today, we're signing legislation that will create jobs, invest in innovation and protect our shared priorities. The common thread uniting all these priorities is the thread of human dignity: the dignity of work, the dignity of family, the dignity of a child's home, the dignity of every individual."
"Maryland stands out among states in these difficult economic times as we have never let our commitment to our priorities waiver even though it might have been the easier path to do so," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. "Today, we will be signing legislation to protect family farms, to create jobs and to keep social studies as an academic priority for our children. These bills will positively affect the lives of every Marylander and represent great work by the Governor and the General Assembly."
"The most important thing that government can do is continue to invest in the future workforce -- our students," said Speaker Michael E. Busch. "Investments in K-12 education, community colleges and higher education ensure that Maryland will have a well-trained workforce to compete in the global economy. The next generation deserves the best quality education that Maryland can afford."
The Governor signed into law the Maryland Innovation Initiative, a groundbreaking partnership between Maryland and its world-renown universities to accelerate the commercialization of technology, create jobs, start new businesses and strengthen Maryland's economy. The Initiative does not require a State appropriation; however, the State has the discretion to allocate funding, and the FY 2013 supplemental budget allocates $5 million to the Initiative. Thus far, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University and three of the University of Maryland's schools- College Park, Baltimore and Baltimore County- are all partners in this effort and will contribute either $100,000 or $200,000 annually, based on research dollar flow, to the Initiative. Funds will support start-up grants to innovators best positioned to push their technology and business plans into the marketplace quickly.
Last year, the Administration created and the General Assembly passed the InvestMaryland initiative, an historic initiative to invest in the State's promising start-up and early stage companies. This year, Maryland became the first state in the nation to use online auction to raise funds for a venture capital program -- raising $84 million in venture capital for Maryland businesses. Together with the General Assembly, the Administration is also advancing Maryland's Innovation Economy by protecting priorities such as the Biotechnology Tax Credit, the R&D Credit and Stem Cell Research.
Following the Special Session to complete work on Maryland's budget, the Governor signed into law the FY 2013 budget to maintain Maryland's Triple A bond rating, and protect critical investments in public education, public safety, the State's workforce, and critical social services. In addition, the Administration's FY 2013 capital budget supports and leverages approximately 50,000 jobs building and re-building modern schools, modern roads, modern transit, and modern clean water infrastructure.
The Governor also signed the Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012, which secures a sustainable future for Maryland's family farms. The Act reduces the current estate tax rate from 16 percent to 5 percent to protect Maryland's farms valued over $5 million through a mandate requiring recapture of the tax obligation if the farm is taken out of agricultural use within 10 years.
With the passage of Senate Bill 791, which accelerates the solar portion of the State's renewable portfolio standard, an estimated 10,000 new local jobs will be created by 2018. Maryland became the first state in the country to recognize geothermal heat pump technology as a renewable source of energy with the passage of Senate Bill 652 and House Bill 1186. The technology will now be included as an eligible source in the State's renewable portfolio standard. Due to Maryland's aggressive solar energy policies, the State now supports more than 2,000 well-paying solar industry jobs as of January 2012.
Among the other bills signed today are the Iran Certification Act, which makes Maryland one of five states to pass sanctions to prevent businesses from engaging in relations with Iran; and the Firefighter's Cancer Presumption Bill, which expands the occupational presumption under Maryland's workers' compensation law to include multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, brain cancer, testicular cancer and breast cancer.