Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and Department of Budget and Management Secretary T. Eloise Foster, officially unveiled the proposed FY 2014 budget -- a fiscally responsible jobs budget that constrains state spending; increases the Rainy Day Fund; through a balanced approach, invests in priorities like job creation; education, public safety, health care, and the environment; puts Maryland on the verge of eliminating the structural deficit inherited in 2007 and the recessionary deficit; and maintains the state's Triple A bond rating.
"Because of the better choices we've made together over the years, we enter 2013 in a better position than most other states to create jobs, expand opportunity, and protect the safety and security of our citizens," said Governor O'Malley. "We've built the #1 public schools in America five years in a row, driven down violent crime to three decade lows, and protected our Triple A bond rating. The proposed FY 2014 budget protects the progress we've made together, and places us on the verge of eliminating the long-standing structural deficit."
"Governor O'Malley and I have worked hard to build a budget that reflects our values and continues to establish a strong economic foundation for our state's economy," said Lt. Governor Brown. "As we move forward, we will continue to take a balanced approach to our budget as we build a brighter, stronger future for more Marylanders."
A Fiscally Responsible Budget
The FY 2014 budget includes $325 million in spending cuts, increases the Rainy Day Fund to $921 million, and reduces the structural deficit by $318 million -- putting Maryland on the verge of closing the structural deficit. The FY 2014 budget also adheres to the General Assembly's Spending Affordability Guidelines for the seventh straight year.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration has cut more than $8.3 billion in State spending over seven years and abolished more than 5,680 State positions. By making tough choices, the Administration has nearly eliminated a structural deficit twice, maintained Maryland's Triple A bond rating, and kept budget growth to the third lowest rate in 21 years. Since taking office, the Administration has maintained a Rainy Day Fund Balance at five percent or higher. Governor O'Malley has also restored the financial health of the State's pension system while protecting benefits for State employees, and reduced the unfunded liability in retirees' health benefits system by nearly $7 billion while protecting access to health care for retirees.
A Jobs Budget
The FY 2014 budget contains a capital budget that supports over 43,000 jobs rebuilding schools, roads, bridges, community colleges and other projects. As part of the capital budget, the Administration has proposed $336 million for school construction and upgrades, supporting over 8,100 jobs and building on the progress for Maryland's #1 public schools in the nation.
Investing in Shared Priorities
With a balanced approach of spending cuts, the Administration continues to make strategic investments in Marylanders' shared priorities like job creation, education, public safety, health care and the environment. The proposed FY 2014 budget invests in a number of tax credits such as the creation of a new Cybersecurity Tax Credit, and the expansion of the Biotech Tax Credit, the Research and Development Tax Credit, and the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit, as well as a new workforce training initiative that connects Marylanders with the skills they need to compete.
The FY 2014 budget continues the Administration's commitment to public education, investing a record $6 billion in K-12 education aid. The budget also assists in college completion, and keeps tuition at three percent making college more affordable for more families. The budget released today also invests $67 million in local law enforcement aid to help men and women on the front lines continue progress in driving down crime. To date, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has expanded health care to over 367,000 Marylanders -- the Governor's FY 2014 budget will expand health care to even more families. To protect our natural treasures for future generations, the FY 2014 budget fully funds Program Open Space, invests in the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, continues a commitment to the cover crop program, and makes critical upgrades to storm water infrastructure and other projects.
Over the past six years, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has made more cuts than any administration in state history, but through a balanced approach, continues to make strategic investments in priorities that matter to Maryland families.