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MACo Closing Address: Governor Hogan Calls for Action on Violent Crime, Warns of  ‘Gathering Storm’ on Education Funding

Will Again Push Legislature to Pass School Construction Plan; Touts Initiatives on Rural Broadband, Clean and Renewable Energy

ANNAPOLIS, MDIn his closing address today at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Summer Conference, Governor Larry Hogan called for action on violent crime in Baltimore City and warned of a gathering storm surrounding education funding.

Violent Crime. Governor Hogan continued his push for proposals to address violent crime in Baltimore City, including legislation to remove repeat violent offenders from the streets.

“Nearly all of the initiatives that are currently being debated in other states, and in Washington, have already been enacted here in Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “But none of that has stopped the murders and the violence…The time has come for all of us to take a stand together. I am calling on leaders at every level of government to join our efforts to impose tougher sentences for those who repeatedly commit these violent crimes. Enough is enough. Let’s come together and do what it takes to get these violent shooters off our streets once and for all.”

Education Funding. In response to concerns expressed by county leaders throughout the conference, Governor Hogan warned of a ‘gathering storm’ surrounding the General Assembly’s lack of a plan to afford the anticipated nearly $4 billion price tag per year for its education blueprint.

“I know that county leaders have had meetings over the past few days about the major school funding storm that is gathering on the horizon,” the governor said. “With little thought, the legislature rushed through the so-called Kirwan plan, which will require billions and billions more in mandated spending increases for county and state taxpayers. They took this action without any regard to funding formulas and with absolutely no plan whatsoever for how any of your counties or the state taxpayers could possibly be able to pay for any of it.”

An analysis by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management indicates that full implementation of all Kirwan Commission recommendations would force the State to face a fiscal shortfall of approximately $18.7 billion. As a result, the Department estimates Maryland households would each be forced to pay an additional $6,200 more in taxes over the next five years.

School Construction. Governor Hogan announced that he will again challenge the General Assembly to pass his historic school construction plan.

“In January, we will introduce landmark legislation to provide $2 billion in additional new dedicated funding to assist counties with school construction,” the governor continued. “This will fulfill nearly every single local construction request in the entire state. The time has come to pass this critical much-needed initiative.”

Rural Broadband. Governor Hogan touted the administration’s bold initiative to expand rural broadband in Maryland.

“Maryland is ranked number one in America for having the fastest Internet and we have been working hard to provide high-speed Internet to every county in the state,” the governor said. “Today I’m announcing that we will provide an additional $10 million this year as the first installment of a five-year $100 million initiative which will finally provide another 225,000 Marylanders in rural communities across the state with access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet services.”

Clean and Renewable Energy. Governor Hogan, following an executive order he signed earlier in the week, reiterated his commitment to working with local leaders on a balanced approach to solar and wind energy development that minimizes the impact on farmland and shorelines.

“Earlier this week, I enacted an executive order to create a task force on renewable energy deployment and siting,” the governor said. “This task force will be charged with working in partnership with all of you, with the counties and local governments, to find ways to incentivize the responsible development of renewable energy projects in Maryland. We want a balanced approach that will minimize the impact on agriculturally or ecologically important areas, including productive farms and fields, forest and park lands, shorelines, wetlands, or waterways.”

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