Maryland Governor “Lawrence “Larry” Hogan highlighted the achievements of his Administration, including the announcement of a new State Development Plan that would replace PlanMaryland, during his closing remarks at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference on August 19.
Hogan thanked counties for their service and noted the importance of the State partnering with the counties. He stated that his Administration has provided $22 billion in local aid during his term – the highest amount ever. Regarding his Administration, he stressed that “[we] have strived to bring state government directly to the people of Maryland.”
State Development Plan/PlanMaryland
Hogan’s primary announcement concerned the signing of a new executive order that formally repealed PlanMaryland, the State’s previous State Development Plan, and announced a new collaborative effort, which will include MACo, the Maryland Municipal League, regional planning commissions, and other stakeholders, to develop a new Plan. “We want to build a better framework for a better Maryland,” Hogan stated.
(Note: Maryland is required to adopt a State Development Plan under Title 5 of the State Finance and Procurement Article.)
The Governor cited many statistics related to the State’s economic development and growth, noting that Maryland nationally ranks: (1) 3rd in entrepreneurship; (2) 3rd in research and development; (3) 2nd in STEM employment; (4) 2nd for the lowest poverty rate; and (5) 1st in median household income. He stated Maryland has gained 110,000 jobs under his Administration and has nationally gone from 49th to 7th in economic growth.
Hogan noted the FY 2018 Budget delivered a record investment in public education, including community colleges and libraries, for the third year in a row.
Hogan discussed the ongoing work of restoring the Chesapeake Bay, noting that the Bay recently received its highest grade for water quality in 25 years. He stated that his Administration has invested a record $3 billion in bay restoration efforts, including additional funding for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and restoring previously cut funding to the Bay Restoration Fund.
He summarized his actions regarding the sediment and nutrient challenge posed by the Conowingo Dam and stated he was issuing a “request for proposals” for test dredging of the Conowingo basin. Hogan also reiterated that he repealed the 2012 best available technology for nitrogen removal (BAT) septic system requirement everywhere in the State. The BAT requirement remains within the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area and counties have the option of requiring BAT systems for individual sites or more broadly.
The Governor also summarized his recent executive order repealing a previous ban on permits for county landfills and stated that his Administration is not abandoning zero waste principles but transitioning to a more collaborative process. According to Hogan, the new process stresses three Rs: “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
Hogan briefly touched on the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic, noting that he has declared a state of emergency over the issue and has provided $50 million in new funding and over $500 million in total funding to fight the problem. He stated that it will take all levels of government to solve the problem and urged counties to help fast-track authority for their local health departments to take advantage of the newly available funding.
Program Open Space and Land Acquisition Programs
Hogan highlighted the $360 million for Program Open Space (POS) and other land acquisition programs. He noted this was the first time POS was fully funded in more than a decade. He also praised legislation introduced by his Administration that provided some protections for future POS funding.
The Governor touted his transportation actions, including providing $14.8 billion in the state’s consolidated transportation plan that has enabled approximately 1,000 transportation projects throughout the state. He also noted that his Administration successfully repealed “the disastrous road kill bill” (formally titled the “Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016” and also known as the “scorecard bill”).
On the subject of Highway User Revenues (HUR), Hogan noted his Administration recently announced an additional $38 million in grants for local transportation projects and pledged, “We will not stop fighting for you until we have fully restored highway user revenues to their historic levels.”
Hogan concluded by posing a challenge to the attendees. “Each and every day we are given the opportunity to do something great,” he said, and urged everyone to make the most of each day. The Governor pledged that his Administration “can and will continue to change Maryland for the better.”
MACo President and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz introduced the Governor and also stressed the importance of the MACo Summer Conference. “We take great pride in the quantity, quality, and diversity of our [conference] panels,” he stated. Kamenetz also noted the Conference provides valuable informal opportunities to share ideas and information.
Kamenetz presided over a $5,000 award by the Maryland/Delaware/DC Beverage Association for the best county booth. The award went to Kent County for a charity of the county’s choice. The County chose the Kent Center – a nonprofit that provides cooking and meal preparation jobs to adults with developmental disabilities. The County brought treats prepared by the Center to the MACo Conference’s Taste of Maryland Reception.