Good morning, MACo!
Thank you, Rick, for that kind introduction, and for your courageous leadership.
Today I am announcing the appointment of your President Rick Politt, as well as Howard County's (Chief Administrative Officer) Lonnie Robbins to be MACo representative on the Local and Regional Transportation Funding Task Force.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, has been recognized as a leader among leaders. He was elected president this week of the County Executives of America, where he will have the opportunity to take the better choices we've made together to the national stage.
In Prince George's County, Rushern Baker's administration, alongside the law enforcement and neighbors in Prince George's, has overseen a major turnaround in crime and public safety.
Someone who is not here today, but is with us in spirit, is Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. He has been an outstanding colleague, partner and Lieutenant Governor. He said from day one that he would do anything we asked, but that he wanted to focus on jobs, health care, and higher education. And he's grown jobs, expanded health care, and and made college more affordable.
Together, we will create at least 57,200 jobs rebuilding Maryland's roads, bridges, and public transit.
In fact, we stopped on the way here to announce a $50 million investment to rebuild the 80-year-old Dover Bridge, something that Mid-Shore Marylanders have been looking forward to for a long time.
Job creation, opportunity, a stronger middle class -- it's not about whether we move left or right, but whether we move forward or back.
And so many of you are doing things in your counties that are working; things that are expanding opportunity; things that are strengthening Maryland's middle class, and making Maryland an even better place to do business.
In Dorchester County, they're working to build the first-ever incubator on the Eastern Shore to bring in IT, advanced manufacturing and agricultural research companies.
In Howard County, they're building a community of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, to launch start-ups and strengthen new companies.
In Garrett County, they're investing in broadband and wireless for 3,000 residents, and businesses in the most far-flung parts of our state--to ensure access to job-supporting, innovation-spurring, high speed Internet service.
These are choices that will make Maryland more competitive in the global market place. They are choices that will expand opportunity. And they are choices that will strengthen Maryland's middle class.
Jobs, opportunity, competitiveness, a stronger middle class -- these are the things I'd like to talk with you about this morning.
Throughout the tough times and tough decisions that have marked our years together in service, our mission has remained the same -- to strengthen and grow the ranks of an increasingly diverse middle class, including our family-owned businesses and farms.
There is no progress without jobs.
As much as 80% of all new job creation comes from small business.
And the most important job we save, or create is the next one.
Guided by these truths, we have made better choices in order to achieve better results.
Instead of racing to the bottom, we raced to the top. Instead of ignoring the bad math of prior fiscal choices, we corrected it.
Before the recession hit, we put our own house in order:
Instead of weakening our workforce, we strengthened it.
Instead of capping middle class opportunity, we invested to expand it.
Instead of short-changing our children's education, we improved it.
We lowered income taxes for 86% of Marylanders.
When the recession hit, hard-working families across our country lost their jobs and their homes.
As revenues dried up in every state, other states tried to cut their way to prosperity. Most found this only made things worse.
Other states eliminated the jobs of police officers, firefighters, and teachers at a scale rarely seen.
Other states cut public education. Other states hiked up college tuition by double digits.
Other states continued down the merry path of cutting taxes for the very wealthy, hoping against cruel experience that somehow it would trickle down to the rest of us. It never did, and it never has.
In Maryland, we made different and better choices. We applied a balanced approach of cuts, revenues, reforms, and investments.
Even as we cut more spending than ever before in our State's history, we also invested more in public education, more in innovation, and more in infrastructure than ever before in our State's history.
We used the pressure of sinking revenues to make government more efficient and effective.
By strengthening our workforce and advancing innovation, we recovered 99% of jobs lost in the recession, and we made our State more competitive in the global marketplace, by opening new markets around the world to Maryland products and services.
By freezing tuition for four years in a row, we made college more affordable for more middle class families.
By utilizing smarter strategies, better technology, and more effective policing, we drove down violent crime and homicide to three decade lows.
And by setting clear goals and measuring government performance, we got more out of every dollar we invested.
All of these actions are good for business. All of these things make our State more competitive. And they all make a difference to middle class families.
What have we achieved together? The proof is in the progress.
Last year, we created jobs at the fastest rate of any State in our region. And so far this year, we're still going strong.
Not only are we leading our region, we're creating jobs nearly twice as fast as our neighbors in Virginia.
According the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Maryland is the #1 State in America for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Life sciences, bio-tech, cyber security, clean technology, and green jobs--all sectors where we have strengthened Maryland's lead for job creation.
According to Fast Company Magazine, we are one of the top 4 states in America for business startups per capita.
And according to the Anderson Economic Group, we have the nation's 7th lowest tax burden on business.
In our region, we are #1 in green jobs per capita. We are #1 in businesses owned by women. We are #1 in per capita research and development. #1 for PHD scientists and engineers per capita. #1 in median income. And we're in the top 2 highest concentrations of college graduates.
We are one of the best places in America to start a business, because we're also one of the best places to raise a family.
Why do I say that?
Because, for an unprecedented 5th year in a row, we're #1 for public education.
And the most, important,.. .indicator, of, them, all,
We are one of America's three best states for the upward economic mobility of our hardworking families.
These are the better RESULTS that flow from the better choices we make together.
We still a have a lot of work ahead of us, each of us is needed -- every county, every town, every business, every family, every person.
So thank you for all that you have done, all that you are doing, and all that you will do to move Maryland forward.
Forward to create more jobs.
Forward to expand middle class opportunity.
Forward to an ever more competitive Maryland.