By Josh Brown-The Washington Times
Creating new jobs is critical to rebuilding the stateâ€™s finances and tackling a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, MarylandÂ Gov. Martin O’Malley told state lawmakers Thursday in his first State of the State address since winning a second term inÂ November.
â€œAt the end of the day itâ€™s all about jobs,â€Â Mr. O’Malley said. â€œTo create more jobs we must leverage the power of our diversity, â€¦ our geography, and we must harness the energy of Marylandâ€™sÂ economy.â€
The Democratic governor, invoking at one point PresidentÂ Obamaâ€˜s recent â€œwin the futureâ€ slogan, said he saw signs of improvement in the state economy, including a fall in the number of home foreclosures. But he admitted the state still faces challenges increasing employment, improving the quality of public education, making college affordable and reducing violentÂ crime.
â€œThe state of our state is stronger that is was two years ago, stronger than it was even a year ago,â€Â Mr. O’Malley contended in remarks to the 188 members of theÂ Maryland General Assembly, â€œbut better isnâ€™t goodÂ enough.â€
But given the current economic situation, the governor warned that the state education budget will face some tough choices and cuts in other state programsÂ â€” â€œnearly $1 billion moreâ€Â â€” areÂ likely.
The people of Maryland â€œmust get more out of every dollar,â€Â Mr. O’Malley said.
The governor said he wants to reduce the size of government by more than 4,000 positions to a level lower than it was four yearsÂ ago.
But Maryland Republicans, in the minority in both houses of the state legislature, countered thatÂ Mr. O’Malleyâ€˜s budget plansÂ â€” outlined last monthÂ â€” were insufficient to curb the growth ofÂ government.
To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/3/omalley-says-md-needs-to-create-jobs/
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