ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has not offered many specifics regarding his legislative agenda heading into his first General Assembly session in office.
But, the one area he campaigned on and expected to dedicate his energies toward is no secret: the budget.
Hogan, along with state lawmakers, will need to come together on how to address ways to close an estimated $750 million shortfall for the Fiscal 2016 year that begins July 1. The 90-day General Assembly session gets underway Wednesday in Annapolis.
Spending priorities on everything from transportation and education to the environment and aid to local government are expected to be closely scrutinized with Hogan entering office following a campaign where he pledged to curb spending, lower taxes and make Maryland more business friendly.
“They drained our checking, saving and retirement accounts. They maxed out every credit card,” said Hogan during a December news conference. “They’ve even broken into every one of the kids’ piggy banks. And we still don’t have enough to pay the bills…
Economist Anirban Basu, who was on Hogan’s transition team, said Maryland’s reliance on public sector funding – which helped insulate the state during much of the recession – is now having the reserve effect as the state and nation continue toward economic recovery.
“There are many reasons for Maryland’s economic struggles. Part of the reason is the growth of state government along with structural issues the state faces. Our economy is largely oriented to institutional employment and the economic mantra of the state has been ‘meds, eds, feds and beds.’