As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you all very much. We began special session with some unfinished business. In the end, we came together on a fiscally responsible budget that will support job creation and move us forward with a balanced approach.
Taken together with the good work we accomplished this session, we have made important progress for job creation, for public education, and for our quality of life: public safety, the environment, a more secure energy future, access to affordable health care, human dignity and equal rights under the law.
The capital budget alone will support an estimated 50,000 jobs building modern schools, modern roads, modern transit, and modern clean water infrastructure.
To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: investments by all of us, for all of us. These investments are not free. And therefore, we've taken a balanced approach of:
Spending cuts that bring our six year total cuts to a record $8 billion.
Position reductions which bring our six year total to more than 5,600 positions eliminated. In one of America's leanest state governments, our executive department will be smaller in FY2013 than it was the day we took office.
Modern investments in job creation and quality of life priorities like public education, affordable college, public safety, and our environment; and
Balanced revenues -- at a time when 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.
In total, these actions will improve our structural budget outlook by about $560 million in this upcoming fiscal year. We will limit budget growth to the third lowest growth rate in two decades. We will leave a fund balance of more than $200 million to help balance the FY2014 budget. We will preserve $928 million of cash resources between the Fund Balance and Rainy Day Fund. We will protect our Triple A Bond Rating. And, for the sixth year in a row, we comply with the Spending Affordability Guidelines set by the General Assembly.
A few words about a few of the bills we're signing today:
Through the Maryland Innovation Initiative, we're partnering with Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, College Park, UMB, and UMBC with the goal of transferring 40 new ideas out of the lab and into the market to create jobs within a year;
We're also advancing Maryland's Innovation Economy by protecting priorities like InvestMaryland, the Biotechnology Tax Credit, the R&D Credit and Stem Cell Research.
By advancing solar energy, we'll create an estimated 10,000 Maryland jobs over the next six years.
Through Sen. Garagiola and Delegate Fricks' bill to spark small business lending we have an opportunity to build upon the progress we've made through the Small Business Loan Guaranty Fund we created in 2009.
Through the Firefighters Cancer Presumption Bill we're protecting more firefighters who suffer from cancer by expanding our workers' compensation law;
Through the Iran Certification Act, we're taking a stand for national security as one of five states to pass trade sanctions to prevent companies from engaging in relations with Iran;
And through the Family Farm Preservation Act, we're reforming the Estate Tax to prevent Maryland family farmers from being taxed off their land due to the death of a loved one.
The Common Thread
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.
President Miller, Speaker Busch, would you like to share a few words?