Ahead of State of the State, Legislators Have Their Own Ideas About the State

By Anjali Shastry

ANNAPOLIS—Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is scheduled to give his first State of the State speech on Wednesday at noon.

During the annual State of the State, the governor gives a speech to both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly about his priorities for the legislative session and upcoming year.

Ahead of this year’s State of the State, legislators from the House of Delegates and the state Senate shared their thoughts on what they expect from Hogan’s address.

Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti, D-Harford: I expect to hear a game plan. On a cursory look at the budget, there’s a switch in policy direction and I’d like to see the governor’s plans for how we’re going to help Marylanders prosper and finance our common priorities.

Delegate Mark N. Fisher, R-Calvert: I think the state needs to strengthen its commitment to the private sector so we can create jobs. That is particularly important because during the past eight years, Maryland has lost 38,000 middle class households. Consequently, the governor and General Assembly have to focus on job creation. That’s the single most important issue.

Delegate Benjamin F. Kramer, D-Montgomery: I respect the governor’s initiative to try to ensure that spending does not exceed revenues. I’m a little bit concerned that maybe the reduction in spending may be just a little bit too fast, in that I personally would’ve preferred to see some of the reductions sort of phased in over a longer period of time. I’m concerned about the cuts that will be happening in education. ... I also have some concerns about the reduction to some of the important services we provide, particularly mental health and to our residents with developmental disabilities.

Senator Gail H. Bates, R-Carroll and Howard: I think we’re in good hands with Gov. Hogan. I’m excited he’s our governor. I think he’ll work hard to get our spending under control, and he’ll work in a bipartisan way… (The biggest issue is) the budget – we’ve got to get our spending under control. The debt service is outpacing the other needed areas of the budget. The gross is greater than other areas of the budget because of the use of debt to fund the state over the last several year. Getting a handle on the budget, it’s constraining what we can do, and we’ve got to get our spending under control.

Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn, D-Baltimore City: The state of the state was good, but this budget is problematic and it will set us back. The education funding cuts and reducing GCEI (certain jurisdictions’ supplemental schools funding) 50 percent, that’s a cut. When you take away 2 percent state employee salaries, and that affects their benefits as well, that’s a cut. And when you cut Medicaid funding, that’s a cut. This budget is not acceptable, we have a lot of work to do. I think we’re not starting off on this kumbaya, let’s-get-along tone that the governor said he wanted to have in his inauguration address. This budget doesn’t reflect this. I’m disappointed.

Senator Adelaide C. Eckardt, R-Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico: We’re going into a new era. As the governor has said, Maryland is open for business. We want to work together across party lines, develop long-term goals, interventions and strategies to meet this goal so that citizens will prosper in Maryland. Business will thrive and by doing that, we will improve the economy through the private sector instead of more government.

Hogan is scheduled to present the State of the State Wednesday at noon in the State House. Watch it streamed live at http://www.governor.maryland.gov/stateofthestate.html.

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