Gov. Hogan delivered his second State of the State address Wednesday afternoon before the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis, touching on a wide array of topics including the economy, education spending, plans to revitalize the Chesapeake Bay and transportation funding.
"The state of our state is strong, and getting stronger every day," the Republican governor said.
Hogan, who battled cancer during his first year in office, said the past year was one of milestones. It was also a year full of unforeseen challenges, he said.
He choked up slightly as he recalled being blessed by Pope Francis on behalf of all cancer patients, and praised state lawmakers for their bipartisan efforts.
"Time and again, we have chosen compromise over conflict, and for that I say thank you," Hogan said.
The governor urged legislators to continue on that path this year.
"Together, we will change Maryland for the better," Hogan said.
Some of the highlights from the State of the State 2016 include:
- Hogan touted the passage of a state budget that included tax cuts, and added that Marylanders are still demanding relief from years of tax hikes. He said he's pushing for the acceleration of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The state still needs to reign in how much it borrows, he said.
- The governor said his administration increased spending to "record-high levels," adding a total increased investment of $830 million more in K-12 education. This is still a point of contention between him and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom reportedly did not applaud this part of the speech.
- Hogan says his administration is investing $53 million for Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, the highest level of funding ever.
- His administration is also investing $2 billion in shovel-ready transportation projects.
- Battling the heroin crisis also remains a priority, and Hogan lauded Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and members of the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force "for their countless months of hard work."
- Hogan also detailed progress that's been made in Baltimore since last April's unrest, including career opportunities for youth, investing money to improve city transit and a focus on economic development initiatives.