ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan gave his State of the State address Wednesday and his top priority is decreasing violent crime in Baltimore.
But, he also discussed his other priorities, ranging from improving transportation around the state to investing more in schools and helping Maryland’s retirees.
- Gov. Larry Hogan’s Full State Of The State Address
- Gov. Larry Hogan Focused On Stopping Violence That’s ‘Destroying Baltimore City’ In His State Of The State Address
Here’s a look at each item Hogan discussed.
The Retirement Tax Reduction Act of 2020 was proposed because Hogan said he was hearing from constituents that said they couldn’t afford to live in Maryland on their fixed income and were moving to states like Delaware and Florida.
Under this act, Hogan said there would be more than $1 billion in tax relief for retirees over five years. Retirees making $50,000 or less would not pay state income tax whatsoever. Any retirees that make $100,000 or less would see a tax reduction anywhere between 50 percent and 100 percent
According to Hogan, it’s the largest tax reduction in Maryland in more than two decades and would help more than 230,000 Marylanders.
Hogan highlighted that over the last six years the state has committed nearly $40 billion to K-12 education. However, the Casino Lockbox Initiative would require an additional $4.4 billion investment into local schools which would increase teacher salaries, expand pre-K, offer more academic programming for at-risk students and innovate career technology programs.
He also noted that the state invested $350 million more in the FY 2021 budget to fully fund recommendations of the Kirwan Commission without raising taxes.
Hogan added that more than 75 percent of the entire capital budget goes toward education.
The Building Opportunity Act of 2020 would provide $3.9 billion in funding toward school construction around the state. Hogan said it would “enable us to fulfill every single request from every single jurisdiction in the state for new school construction and for upgrades and repairs to aging schools.”
Hogan noted local school systems should be held accountable to make sure the billions of dollars invested actually end up in the classrooms.
The state is investing $14 billion in transit — it’s the most ever, according to Hogan.
Other than the construction of the Purple Line, which is underway, Hogan also negotiated a solution to help WMATA address a half-a-billion dollar shortfall.
Hogan can also move forward with the Howard Street Tunnel, which will lower bottleneck along railways and allow double-stack trains — increasing production at the Port of Baltimore and create more jobs.
He also invested $9 billion into 800 transportation projects around the state.
Hogan also is addressing the second-worst traffic congestion in America with “a transformative regional interstate traffic relief plan.”
Hogan said he’s committed $6 million to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. He’s also pushing for hold Pennsylvania and the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for pollution coming downstream the Susquehanna River and over the Conowingo Dam and into the Bay.
“I intend to keep pushing our upstream neighbors and federal partners to ensure that they are doing their fair share to protect this national treasure,” Hogan said.
Ethics and Accountability
The Ethics and Accountability in Government Act will ensure that public officials are worthy of the public’s trust. The act toughens state ethics laws and brings transparency and accountability to Annapolis.
“We cannot allow the unethical behavior of a few to tarnish the goodwill of the many in our state capital,” Hogan said.
Hogan mentioned three laws he’s hoping will help target and decrease violent crime in Baltimore.
The Violent Firearm Offenders Act of 2020 will increase penalties for suspects that use guns to commit violent crimes, who possess stolen firearms and guns with obliterated serial numbers and those who possess or supply illegal guns.
The Witness Intimidation Prevention Act also increases penalties for those who intimidate or threaten witnesses.
Finally, the Judicial Transparency Act allows the public to see what sentences judges are giving the most violent offenders.