Governor O’Malley’s Blog
Today, Governor O’Malley and the Presiding Officers signed the FY2014 Capital Budget into law to make the investments that educate, innovate and rebuild our infrastructure. The $3.7 billion capital budget makes investments to support and leverage almost 43,000 jobs.
The capital budget invests over $698 million in K-12 and higher education. We’re investing $338 million to renovate, rebuild, and improve Maryland’s #1 public schools creating, supporting, and leveraging nearly 8,200 jobs. We’re dedicating over $285 million to our four-year public colleges and universities and $52 million to our community colleges.
Additionally, Governor O’Malley signed the Baltimore City Public Schools Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013, which invests approximately $1 billion to build as many as 15 new schools and renovate and replace approximately 30 of the City’s aging schools. Baltimore City, the School System, and the State will each invest $20 million annually to raise roughly $1 billion in construction funds through the sale of bonds.
To prepare our workforce to compete and win in this global economy, the budget makes investments to spur innovation. The budget devotes $11 million to the One Maryland Broadband Network and $5 million to the East Baltimore Biotechnology Park.
To prepare for our future and protect our quality of life, the capital budget invests $182.5 million for Bay restoration projects and $110 million for land preservation programs. We are investing $20 million in the Rental Housing Works initiative launched last year to build 900 new affordable housing units for working families and support over 1,500 jobs. And, $10.9 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects will ensure that we make smarter choices about the way we power our State.
This morning, Governor O’Malley also signed the job-creating Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013.
Through the FY14 operating budget, we took action to encourage private investments in Maryland for innovation and job creation. Learn more about the key investments and tax credits here.
Today, Governor Martin O’Malley visited the set of House of Cards, the critically acclaimed series that is filming its second season in Maryland. The Governor talked with producers and crew members about jobs, opportunity, and why Maryland is fast becoming the premier destination in America for film production. Kevin Spacey, star of the House of Cards, summed it up best:
“Look, it all comes down to what makes a State great and it’s the people who are here. And, the fact of the matter is, you look at film production in the United States and around the world, the reason that places like Prague become such a great place for film- European film- one of the biggest reasons is because they learned how to ‘crew up.’ They hired really terrific, great people. And that’s what’s been happening here in Maryland.
To date, the Maryland Film Production Tax Credit has created 5,700 jobs, with the promise of more job creation now that the credit has been expanded. Marylanders from across the state are working on the crew of House of Cards. The show employs nearly 2,200 Maryland residents as crew, actors and extras. The net impact of the program on Maryland’s economy is $150 million.
In the first quarter of 2013, Maryland created jobs faster than any other state in the region and at the fourth fastest rate in the nation. Maryland’s dynamic private sector led that growth, creating nine out of every 10 new Maryland jobs. As of March 2013, our work alongside thriving businesses has driven down the unemployment rate to a four-year low and allowed us to recover 97 percent of the jobs we lost in the national recession.
By Raquel Guillory
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released monthly jobs numbers today and Maryland’s private sector continues to lead Maryland’s jobs recovery. Here’s what the numbers tell us:
In the first three months of 2013, Maryland led the region in job creation. Together with Maryland’s businesses, we created 22,000 new jobs in the first quarter of the year at the 4th fastest rate in the nation. Maryland’s dynamic private sector led our job growth creating 9 out of every 10 of our new jobs at the 5th fastest rate in the nation.
Working together, we drove down Maryland’s unemployment rate to a four-year low and brought Maryland’s private sector employment to its highest level in nearly five years. And we have recovered 97% of the jobs lost in the Bush recession.
This month, Governor O’Malley signed legislation reducing the barriers veterans face in the workforce, closing the gap between the needs of Maryland’s businesses and the skills of our workforce, streamlining the public-private partnership process, and incentivizing investments within our State in the 21st century fields of biotech, clean tech, cybersecurity, and basic research and development. There is no progress without a job. Together, with Maryland’s innovative private sector, Marylanders are making the better choices that deliver better results including growing an upwardly mobile middle class that is leading our region.
By Raquel Guillory, Director of Communications
In Maryland, we focus on the policies that work to drive down crime, and together with the men and women of law enforcement, we’ve driven down violent crime to three-decade lows. We did this by focusing on things that work, and by identifying things that don’t work and eliminating them. The death penalty doesn’t reduce violent crime, and it’s expensive. That’s why, this session, we came together to eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life without parole.
Governor O’Malley is committed to providing assistance to victims’ families. Our original bill called to appropriate savings starting in FY2015 to that purpose. Unfortunately, the provision didn’t make it through the legislative process. However, the Governor remains committed to providing this funding for victims’ families in FY2015.
In the interim, the Governor’s Office of Crime and Criminal Prevention, has been working with advocates to identify gaps in service needs to get families the help they need before FY2015.
Together with the advocates, GOCCP developed a survey to find those gaps. We need everyone’s input on this important initiative. Here’s a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GOCCPMSBVSSurvey
By Lt. Governor Brown
As we close out our fifth annual Read Across Maryland month, I am delighted to see so many members of our Cabinet and our agencies have fully embraced this month-long celebration by visiting classrooms, donating books and promoting the joy of reading. Dr. Seuss – whose birthday kicks off this annual event – once famously said, “You’re never too old, too wacky, or too wild to pick up a book and read to a child.”
Reading brings families together, provides limitless enjoyment, and lays the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and success. This month we challenged educators, parents and children to read 30 minutes for 30 days, but I hope we continue to develop habits that encourage reading every day. By working together I know we can ensure that reading remains both a priority and a pastime in Maryland.
Check out the pictures below of Governor O’Malley and members of our Cabinet from the celebration.
By Raquel Guillory, Director of Communications
In honor of Maryland Day, we wanted to share this wordle made from posts that were submitted to the Maryland Love Project. After nearly 400 years, here are a few of the many ways people describe the land that is now our great state.
To learn more about the Maryland Love Project and to submit an entry, visit love.maryland.gov
By Raquel Guillory, Director of Communications
In case you missed it, we wanted to share this editorial from the Baltimore Sun on the need for an assault weapons ban.
Key Point: “As delegates consider amendments that would limit Mr. O’Malley’s proposal on assault weapons, they should ask themselves this question: If the features common to these firearms are merely cosmetic, why has the military adopted them? They are not for hunting or target shooting or for defending one’s home from an intruder. They are for killing as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and there is no justification for having them in civilian life.”
Why we should ban assault weapons
Our view: Skeptics in the House of Delegates are misguided to think that some of the firearms Gov. O’Malley wants to prohibit have any use other than mass killing
In 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington region for three weeks by firing bullets at innocent people in parking lots and at gas stations, ultimately killing 10 people and wounding three others. They used a Bushmaster XM-15 E2S rifle, one many variants of America’s most popular assault weapon, the AR-15.
In 2006, Kyle Aaron Huff used a Bushmaster when he opened fire at a post-rave party in Seattle, killing six before committing suicide. In 2007, Tyler Peterson used an AR-15 to kill six people at a homecoming party in Crandon, Wis. In 2012, a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Police say James Holmes used a Smith & Wesson version of the AR-15 that was equipped with a 100-round drum magazine. And in December, Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster XM-15 in his massacre atSandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six adults.
In Annapolis, the House Judiciary Committee is considering changes to Gov. Martin O’Malley‘s gun violence legislation, including an effort to pare down the list of firearms included in a proposed assault weapons ban. Among those under consideration for removal: the AR-15.
Given that we would not be having this conversation at all if not for the Sandy Hook tragedy, the politics of banning a variety of weapons but not the one used there are certainly terrible. But the objections opponents raise — that these weapons have legitimate uses and that their inclusion on a banned list is arbitrary — warrant a response.
The governor did not pull the list of weapons he proposes to ban out of the air. Instead, he took an existing list that is currently subject to extra regulations under state law. That list was created in 1989 and is similar to the list of weapons banned by the federal government from 1994-2004. (The effort in Congress to restore that ban appears to have stalled.) The governor’s bill would also ban weapons that contain two or more military-style characteristics.
Critics complain that those characteristics are cosmetic — that they make the guns look scary but don’t mean they inherently fire more rapidly or more accurately than semi-automatic handguns or some kinds of hunting and sporting rifles that are not part of the proposed ban. Indeed, the kinds of weapons in question are not fully automatic; that is, a gunman would have to pull the trigger each time he wants to fire, rather than firing a burst by holding the trigger down. Automatic weapons are already highly regulated and have been since the 1930s. And in general, the limiting factor for how quickly a semi-automatic rifle can fire is the same as it is for a handgun — how fast the shooter can pull the trigger.
Yet, such weapons show up again and again in mass shootings. According to Mother Jones magazine, which has cataloged every mass shooting in the United States since 1982, about a quarter of all mass shooters had assault weapons, and more than half had assault weapons, high capacity magazines, or both. (Mr. O’Malley’s proposal would also ban magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.)
What makes these weapons so deadly? They are civilian copies of military weapons designed with features that make them more lethal.
The AR-15, for example, has a pistol grip, which helps a shooter pull the trigger more quickly and to better control the recoil, allowing him to fire more rapidly with more accuracy. It also enables shooting from the hip and spraying fire from side to side — something that would be deadly when firing into a crowd but useless in a self-defense situation.
When fired rapidly, a gun’s barrel can quickly become too hot to handle. A barrel shroud, common on many of the models listed in the governor’s bill, enables a shooter to hold the gun with a second hand without burning himself. A forward grip, which is somewhat less common, achieves the same purpose.
A folding, detachable or telescoping stock helps make an assault weapon easier to carry and conceal. That is frequently a factor in mass shooting situations.
A threaded barrel allows the easy attachment of a silencer or a flash suppressor. The latter prevents the shooter from being temporarily blinded by the muzzle flash, particularly in low-light conditions, enabling him to fire more quickly and accurately. It also helps conceal the position of the shooter, something that may well have been a factor in the D.C. snipers’ ability to evade detection.
Some of the weapons on the list have the capability of mounting a grenade launcher. Although explosive grenades are heavily regulated, the launchers can accept other kinds of projectiles, including smoke grenades.
As delegates consider amendments that would limit Mr. O’Malley’s proposal on assault weapons, they should ask themselves this question: If the features common to these firearms are merely cosmetic, why has the military adopted them? They are not for hunting or target shooting or for defending one’s home from an intruder. They are for killing as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and there is no justification for having them in civilian life.
By Raquel Guillory, Director of Communications
This morning, leaders of Maryland’s business and labor community came together to urge members of the General Assembly to pass the plan to create 44,000 jobs while rebuilding our roads, bridges and transit systems.
As Jermaine Jones, the business manager/secretary treasurer of LiUNA Local Union 710 explained, “Maryland’s transportation plan will create 44,000 jobs putting people to work rebuilding our transportation infrastructure. These jobs will help families put food on the table. It’s time for the Maryland General Assembly to pass this plan. It’s time to put people to work.”
Mr. Jones was joined by Don Fry, the president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee; Jim Dinegar, the president & CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; Mark Coles, the business/legislative representative of the Washington, DC, Building and Construction Trades Council; James Russ, the president of the Maryland Transportation Builders and Materials Association; and Beverly Pannee, the vice president of RJM Engineering
Business and labor leaders aren’t the only ones who know that investing in infrastructure will create jobs and reduce traffic congestion. “Get Maryland Moving,” a coalition of business, environmental, and civic leaders, announced its support today for the plan to fund critical transportation infrastructure. Among other groups, the coalition includes various local chambers of commerce and the League of Women Voters Maryland.
This morning, students from the University of Maryland College Park presented me with the “Maryland Invests” book, a compilation of personal stories written by students on their experiences paying for college.
These stories are a reminder of why it is so critically important that we continue making investments to keep college affordable.
Alone among the 50 states, Maryland chose to freeze in-state tuition at state colleges and universities for four years years in a row.
Together, we then held tuition increases to the lowest in the nation for over five years. According to the college board, since 2007, we’ve done more than any other state to hold down the cost of college tuition.
This year’s budget continues our commitment to higher education by investing $5.83 billion — money that will go towards scholarships, financial aid and academic programs.
Some have suggested that because we made better choices in the past, we should curtail our investments now. This is not the time to stop investing in our greatest assets — the talents, skills, creativity and ingenuity of our people. It is the time to invest more.
If we want to be winners in this changing new economy, the best investments we can make are investments in ourselves.
I’m very lucky to have the leadership and guidance of some of the smartest, most effective women in public service.
But instead of telling you about them, I wanted to share this inspirational video that a few members of our administration put together in honor of International Women’s Day.