ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley led a forum on how his policies are affecting middle class Marylanders.
Pat Warren reports the focus is on job creation.
WJZ asked the question, is the state better, worse or the same since Governor O’Malley took office?
“I think it’s about the same,” said Bonnie Nauman.
“I would have to say the same,” said Concetta Lovejoy.
“Well, the state is a little worse off,” said Mack Gee.
“I think it’s worse off,” said Victor Norris.
“I think it’s better off,” said Rodney Klein.
“This is where we stand right now in terms of jobs recovered since the big recession,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley hosted the first in a series of forums on how his administration has strengthened the middle class…or not.
“Too many taxes and regulations,” said Norris.
“Taxes definitely, yeah,” said Gee.
The administration acknowledges that.
“And I have got the scars to prove it. None of these things was popular. None of them made sense by themselves but all of them make sense together,” O’Malley said.
The gas tax dollars are to create jobs, starting with 1,900 of them on Eastern Shore projects announced last week. And more jobs are to come.
“Biotech, clean tech, green tech,” O’Malley said. “Those are real jobs filled with real people doing really important things.”
Maryland is home to the nation’s second highest concentration of STEM jobs. That’s science, technology, engineering and math employees. It has one of the fastest STEM growth rates in the country.
“These are all areas where we lead,” O’Malley said.
Still, the state lost 9,000 jobs last month.
“Hopefully, next month will be better and hopefully they’ll revise but the direction, of course, is a forward direction,” O’Malley said.
Closing the gap remains a priority. Education and internship legislation will be introduced in the General Assembly next session.
The citizen activist group Change Maryland challenges a claim made by the administration that the state has recovered 94 percent of jobs lost in the recession.