Governor Martin O'Malley today delivered his seventh State of the State address before members of the Maryland General Assembly, invited guests, and the citizens of Maryland. In his address, Governor O'Malley focused on the better choices made to achieve better results for our job creation, Maryland schools, and a strong and growing middle class. The Governor highlighted the tough decisions made in the midst of a national recession that enabled Maryland to protect priorities while creating jobs and expanding opportunity.
Tough, Fiscally Responsible Choices
We constrained budget growth and cut the size of government: We cut more than any administration in Maryland history; there are fewer executive branch employees now than there were in 2007; on a per capita basis, there are fewer executive branch employees than at any time since 1973; and we've constrained growth more than any administration in modern Maryland history.
We instituted reforms: We reformed hundreds of pages of regulations; streamlined permitting; fast-tracked projects that create jobs; eliminated paperwork and waste in State government; advanced public-private partnerships; and used smart maps to target our resources.
We made tough choices: While other states tried to cut their way to prosperity, we used a balanced approach. We made better choices that included new revenue to bolster schools.
Today, we're on the verge of having closed the structural deficit, we've protected our AAA bond rating -- certified by all three ratings agencies -- and we've strengthened our Rainy Day Fund.
While Being Fiscally Responsible, We Still Achieved Results
We've made our schools better: We have the #1 schools in the nation for the 5th straight year; record student achievement; record high school graduation rates; narrower achievement gaps between white and non-white students; the nation's best Advanced Placement scores; and the highest participation rate in AP science, technology, engineering, and math exams in our state's history.
We've kept college affordable: Since 2007, we've done a better job than any state in the nation in holding down the cost of college tuition.
We've helped businesses create jobs: The U.S. Chamber ranks us as #1 state in the nation for entrepreneurship and innovation because of our high concentrations of high-tech activity and research; we've recovered a higher percentage of jobs after the national recession than any other state in our region; and we've exceeded our highest-in-the-nation goals for empowering women and minority-owned businesses by awarding state business.
We've helped keep families safe: We've driven down violent crime down nearly 25% since 2006, and even in light of population growth, incidents of violent crime are below where they were in 1977.
We are improving sustainability: We have made the Chesapeake Bay healthier; rescued the Blue Crab; restored our Native Oyster; and signed up more farmers than ever before to plant cover crops.
"As we emerge from the toughest of economic times, the state of our State is strong and we are growing stronger," said Governor O'Malley.