I want to share some highlights from Governor O’Malley’s budget proposal. Should this budget be adopted:
- 83 cents of every general fund dollar would be spent on education, health and public safety;
- Maryland would retain its Triple A bond rating–a signal to investors that they can remain confident in our fiscal health;
- Public education would receive more funding than any budget to date;
- College tuition rates would remain steady (Maryland has gone from being the 6th costliest state in which to attend a public institution in 2007 to the 27th today);
- $336 million would be allocated for school construction and $280 million for public colleges and universities;
- Programs credited with allowing Maryland to recoup 80% of the jobs lost during the recession would remain funded;
- Local police aid would increase to a 20-year high and two new State Trooper classes would be formed (violent crime has decreased 25% in Maryland over the past seven years);
- Environmental programs that position Maryland at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution would be prioritized;
- $325 million in spending cuts would be implemented.
Indeed, there is a lot to like about Governor O’Malley’s proposal. As the session continues, I will work diligently with my colleagues to ensure that Montgomery County’s priorities are sufficiently funded. I want us to pass a budget that continues to invest in our #1 ranked education system, positions Maryland to lead the clean energy revolution, and keeps us on the path of declining crime rates; Mr. O’Malley’s proposal is a good starting point. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.