Partial text of governor's speech, presentation of budget proposal

January 18, 1996

Here are excerpts from Gov. Parris N. Glendening's State of the State address:

There is no dispute that these are anxious times for Maryland and Marylanders. Workers at the Mack Truck plant in Hagerstown, teachers in Baltimore, watermen in Cambridge, shop owners in Annapolis and senior citizens in Montgomery County -- all are anxious about the future.

Money is tight and resources are limited. There is no such thing as a secure job. Violent crime is a cancer eating away at too many of our communities. Metal detectors have too often become as indispensable as math books in some of our schools.

The certain and startling loss of federal funds cuts Maryland to the bone. This is a state that has long benefited because of its proximity to Washington and its dependence on federal agencies.

Almost 5,000 federal workers in the state have already lost their jobs. Ultimately, over the next 18 to 24 months, we believe 25,000 Marylanders who are federal employees are likely to be told to find work elsewhere. 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs will be lost at companies that have contracts with the federal government.

The exact figures are not yet in, but if Congress has its way, Maryland will lose approximately $1.6 billion in Medicaid funding alone during the next seven years. We will lose money that is supposed to provide basic medical and nursing home care for our elderly, disabled and poorest citizens. We will lose money we need to keep our water clean, to teach our poorest children to read, to heat the homes of elderly in the winter. Maryland is being forced to cut services.

We will step in and we will pay for some of these programs ourselves because it is the only responsible thing to do.

For example, last fall I visited with senior citizen Doris Conklin of Capitol Heights in my home county of Prince George's.

The thermostat in her home was turned down to 60 degrees -- way too low for her because she has low blood pressure. To keep warm, Mrs. Conklin wears layers of clothing. She is worried -- and scared -- now that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the low-income senior heating energy assistance program, and she is worried that she would no longer receive $240 a year toward her heating bill. Have we become such a cold-hearted nation that we will let our seniors freeze to death?

Regardless of what the United States House of Representatives does, we will be a compassionate state that protects our seniors. We will help Doris Conklin and the almost 11,000 other seniors throughout Maryland who receive heating energy assistance to stay warm during the winters.

In most other cases, sadly, we will not be able to afford to make up for these losses. Still, it would be too simplistic and it would be wrong to attribute all of our problems to Washington. Many of Maryland's problems are of our own making and will yield only to our own efforts.

More than ever, government requires self-discipline. We must have the self-discipline to say no. We must say "no" to the siren song of casino gambling and instead put our faith in the proven paths to success -- learning, hard work, and producing useful goods and services. For now, at least, we must say "no" to a personal income tax cut until we are certain we can afford it. We may be able to do this in the future, but for now we must be fiscally responsible and proceed only when we have all the information we need to make an informed and responsible decision.

Just as importantly, we must have the determination to say "yes" to those programs and activities which deserve our utmost priority -- efforts that make sure that everyone works, steps to improve our schools and changes that allow us to live safely.

Day by day, inch by inch, we are already making progress in each of these critical areas.

Good-paying, family-supporting jobs are already coming to Maryland: T. Rowe Price in Baltimore County brought 1,500 new jobs. Aluglass in Snow Hill with 150 jobs. The Patuxent River Naval Air Station expansion netted Maryland 5,000 additional jobs. And Allegheny Power Systems, a Fortune 500 firm, moved its corporate headquarters from Manhattan to Hagerstown.

We are trying new approaches to make our streets safer. A new State Police program -- Operation Cease Fire -- has already captured 410 illegal guns.

And our schools are getting better. Last year there was a 12.5 percent increase in student scores on the Maryland School Performance Program.

Our challenge now is to keep Maryland moving forward by creating and keeping good jobs in Maryland, by making our communities safer, and by improving education, with fewer resources.

The first challenge is give all Marylanders the opportunity to work. By work, I mean work for all, not just for a few. Our goal should be to ensure that everyone has a job that pays a good, family-supporting wage.

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