Governor to Counties: “Not Easy Times”

At the February 27 meeting of MACo’s Legislative Committee, Governor Martin O’Malley joined the discussion, to review a range of state and county issues currently before the General Assembly and the US Congress. In his overall comments about the economic climate and the difficulties faced by public officials, the Governor observed “these are not easy times… but we make a way.”

The Governor made particular note of his pleasure that the proposed budget includes a restoration of local police aid funding. “That was one of those things that we froze and pinched when we had to get through hard times,” he said, “but you all had to save lives anyway.” He expressed optimism that the funding would be restored in the pending state budget.

Governor O’Malley also discussed his Administration’s focus on job development, through a variety of efforts. He cited a series of targeted tax credits, commitments to infrastructure, and affordable housing as efforts toward the overall job promotion goals.

On transportation, the Governor noted the continued discussion in Annapolis, and distributed a document to attendees covering a recent assessment of infrastructure needs and priorities.

The Governor also observed that the increasingly likely federal sequester would have significant effects on Maryland’s budget and workforce. Responding to member questions, the Governor detailed the extra reserves committed as part of the proposed budget, as a necessary tool to “hedge” against federal effects.

Legislative Committee Chairman Tom Duncan thanked the Governor for joining the meeting, and for “remembering his local background” as he deals with policy issues.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties