Governor Martin O'Malley today hosted the "Better Choices, Better Results Forum -- Jobs & the Economy" -- the first in a series of statewide forums aimed at fostering an ongoing, collaborative dialogue on the O'Malley-Brown Administration's efforts to strengthen the middle class by pursuing its strategic goals. During the event, stakeholders from across the state engaged in a roundtable discussion about the better choices we've made together, measuring progress, and delivering results to strengthen and grow Maryland's middle class.
"There is no progress without jobs. From the first days of our administration, strengthening Maryland's middle class has been our number one priority," said Governor O'Malley. "Through better choices, we've invested in education, innovation, and rebuilding our infrastructure in order to create more jobs and expand opportunity for our State's hardworking families. And our work is not yet done. Together, we can build a better Maryland for our children."
The forum highlighted key economic initiatives, tracked progress on job creation and recovery, and fostered an ongoing dialogue about how best to bolster Maryland's Innovation Economy in the future.
This year, we took meaningful steps to create jobs and expand opportunity. In 2013, Maryland has created 17,800 new jobs posting job gains in five out of seven months. Over the past 12 months, we've created 39,000 new jobs. Our dynamic private is leading our job growth creating 9 out of every 10 new jobs at a rate nearly 20% faster than our neighbors in Virginia. Working together, we've recovered 94% of the jobs lost in the national recession.
One of our key initiatives now is focusing on creating jobs in key growth sectors like cybersecurity, life sciences, and space and aerospace. In fact, our budget this year invests $56 million to spur investment and create jobs in some of these key sectors. The budget includes a 25% increase in the biotechnology tax credit over last year, a 33% increase in the research and development tax credit over last year, and a brand new cybersecurity tax credit to ensure we remain a national leader in that growing field.
We are also focused on job training, and so we passed the EARN bill.
"The Governor and Legislature have enacted a critical piece of legislation in the EARN bill. This funding will grow middle class manufacturing jobs in Maryland by enabling industry-directed training opportunities for manufacturing and cyber security technicians," said Mark Rice, P.E., President of Maritime Applied Physics Corporation and a panelist at today's forum. "These men and women will implement world-class automation in the new world of manufacturing where low cost labor is no longer the only key to profitability. These jobs will be well paid, have clear career pathways to higher paying jobs, and will provide the income levels needed to grow a vibrant middle class. We thank the Governor and Legislature for this forward-looking piece of legislation."
Maryland's thriving economy has not gone unnoticed. In April, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maryland #1 for entrepreneurship and innovation for the second year in a row and among the top ten states for economic performance for the fourth year in a row. The Milken Institute ranks our State #1 in research and development per capita and #2 for science and technology assets. The nonpartisan group The States Project says we're #2 for economic opportunity and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranks us among the five states best positioned to succeed in the new economy. Last year, entrepreneurial Marylanders made our State fourth in the nation for startups per capita according to a study by Fast Company. And recently, the Pew Center on the States named Maryland one of the Top Three states for economic mobility based on workers ability to move up the corporate ladder.