July 16, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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Maryland Is Changing

Delegate Nic Kipke
Delegate Nic Kipke's picture
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November 10, 2017

Maryland’s economy is doing incredibly well under Governor Hogan’s leadership. In July of this year, CNBC released its annual list of best states for business. Maryland jumped to No. 25 – climbing five spots from the previous year’s ranking. CNBC also ranked Maryland seventh for its economy, a leap of 16 spots from the previous year. In March of this year, U.S. News and World Report ranked Maryland eighth in its “Best States” ranking. As great as these rankings are, they fail to fully capture the changes the Hogan administration has brought to the citizens of our state.

Governor Hogan’s policies have made Maryland's economy stronger than it has been in more than a decade. In September, Maryland gained 2,400 new jobs, and our unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent — the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 10 years. Since Hogan’s election, our state has gone from losing 100,000 jobs to gaining more than 130,000 jobs. Even with all he has accomplished for our state, Governor Hogan continues to say that he is “just getting started.”

Hogan has made good on his promise to put money back in the pockets of our citizens. His administration has reduced or eliminated more than 250 fees across state government. He has cut taxes on military pensions and has provided tax relief to our first responders and emergency personnel. For the first time in more than 50 years, toll costs were cut at every single facility across our state. So far, Governor Hogan has delivered more than $700 million in tax, toll and fee relief to the citizens of Maryland. Also, he just announced that he will pursue even more tax relief in the 2018 legislative session.

In order to truly appreciate all the changes Governor Hogan has brought to Maryland, it is important to remember where we started. Earlier this year, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released its “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” report. The report analyzes the states’ fiscal condition for the most recent fiscal year that data is available. In this report, the Mercatus Center looked at data from Fiscal Year 2015, the last full fiscal year of the O’Malley-Brown administration. In that last fiscal year of one-party Democratic majority rule from Governor O’Malley and the Democratic majority in the General Assembly, Maryland’s fiscal health ranked in the bottom five – coming in at an embarrassing 46th out of the 50 states.

Spending continued to outpace incoming revenue and the excessive borrowing by the O’Malley administration to cover budget shortfalls (even with historic tax increases) left our state in an incredibly precarious position fiscally. Even now, while Governor Hogan has worked to bring spending in line with revenues and eliminated 20 percent of the $5.1 billion structural deficit he inherited, our state is still under the shadow of the reckless spending spree that occurred under the eight years of the O’Malley administration. The debt alone will impact our state’s budgets for years to come.

What is unfortunate and, frankly, incredibly frustrating is that it would seem the Democratic majority in this state has learned nothing from its fiscal mistakes. Governor Hogan has had to fight tooth and nail to prevent new spending mandates. He was able to stop over 85 percent of the new or increased mandated spending proposed in 2016, and he will continue to fight for legislation to reduce the budget mandates that continue to create and maintain budget gaps.

Some leaders in the Maryland Democratic Party seem to view Governor Hogan’s election as a fluke of some kind. They ignore his incredible approval ratings and accuse him of such dastardly deeds as actually keeping the promises he made to our citizens. It is a shame that some cannot get onboard with the wonderful things Governor Hogan is doing to change Maryland. Imagine what we could do if we worked together.

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