Governor Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, joined by Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, today signed important legislation that will create jobs and expand opportunity for more Marylanders. Among the bills signed into law today are the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, the Employment Advancement Right Now (Earn) initiative, the Public-Private Partnerships bill, and an expansion of the Biotechnology, Research & Development, and Film Production Tax Credits -- all of which work to advance job creation, spur innovation, and expand opportunities for Marylanders to compete in a changing 21st century economy.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration set a goal to recover every job lost during the Bush recession by the end of 2014. To date, Maryland has recovered nearly 95 percent of those jobs. Over the last 12 months, the state has now created 38,200 new jobs with the private sector leading the way -- creating 95 percent of those new jobs. Today, Maryland's unemployment rate , while still too high, has been driven down to its lowest level in four years -- 6.6 percent -- 14 percent below the national rate.
"There is no progress without a job. Maryland has now recovered nearly 95 percent of the jobs lost during the Bush recession, but there are still too many moms and dads out of work. Thanks to the hard work of Senate President Miller, House Speaker Busch and our leaders in the General Assembly, together, we have passed meaningful legislation that focuses on creating jobs and expanding opportunity with a balanced, fiscally responsible approach," said Governor O'Malley. "Because of the better choices we've made, we've been able to deliver better results this session to expand the ranks of an increasingly diverse and upwardly mobile middle class."
"The most important thing we did this session was to create a legacy for the future of our State that will ensure that Maryland continues to have the best educational system in the country and the transportation infrastructure to support a thriving knowledge-based economy," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
"This session, much of the unsung legislation passed was focused on stimulating private sector job creation in Maryland," said Speaker Michael E. Busch. "Funding for TEDCO's Rural Business Initiative and a new innovation portal for the State, as well as expanding Public-Private Partnerships, tax credits and tax increment financing options will help give the business community the continued confidence to invest in Maryland's economy."
The Governor and presiding officers signed into law the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which creates a mechanism to incentivize the development of a 200 MW offshore wind facility that will support almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for five years and an additional 160 ongoing supply and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) jobs thereafter.
Championed by Lt. Governor Brown, the Administration's public-private partnership (P3) bill creates an enhanced framework for future P3s that will attract private investment to help build new infrastructure in Maryland with the potential to support thousands of jobs in the future.
"As a result of this legislation we're going to create thousands of jobs for Maryland's workers, address some of our most pressing infrastructure needs, and continue to strengthen and support our state's businesses," said Lt. Governor Brown. "Public-private partnerships are going to be an essential part of building a growing 21st Century Maryland economy, and this legislation allows us to approach these partnerships in a more transparent, predictable and efficient way."
A joint effort with Senate President Miller and House Speaker Busch, Governor O'Malley's FY 2014 budget includes a $4.5 million strategic investment to create the EARN initiative, a competitive grant process that creates employer-driven collaborations to bridge the gap between specific employer workforce needs and the skills of Maryland's workers to identify common workforce needs for high-demand occupations within a target industry such as construction, traditional and advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and health care; and develop and implement education or training strategies to address those shortages.
The Governor and presiding officers also signed an expansion of three existing tax credits: the Research and Development Tax Credit by 25 percent to $8 million to spur additional investment in Maryland companies; the Biotechnology Tax Credit by $2 million to $10 million to encourage investment in Maryland's biotechnology industry; and the Film Production Tax Credit to increase investment in Maryland's film industry. The FY 2014 budget also includes the creation of a new $3 million Cyber Tax Credit to advance Maryland's rapidly growing cyber sector.
Since taking office, the Administration has cut more spending than any administration in Maryland history -- more than $8 billion since 2007; preserved more than $1 billion in cash reserves between the fund balance and the Rainy Day Fund -- larger than 41 other states in the nation; and with the FY 2014 budget passed by the legislature, Maryland is now on the verge of nearly eliminating the long-standing $1.7 billion structural deficit inherited in 2007.