Text of State of State address Transcript: Here is a partial text of Gov. Paris N. Glendening's State of the State address given yesterday to a joint session of the General Assembly.

January 22, 1998

The new year of 1998 finds us blessed. The state of the state is good. The state of the state is very good. We are enjoying the best economy in more than a decade. Our citizens enjoy enhanced security and feel a renewed sense of optimism.

Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker and each member of this General Assembly for your hard work. Thank you also for your dedication to the citizens of Maryland.

You can be rightfully proud of your efforts, and our efforts together, over the past three years. While focusing on our historic agenda, we have made choices. Our decisions yielded positive results.

Today, the State of Maryland enjoys a $283 million surplus over and above our financially prudent reserves. We have employed sound financial management. We have lived within our means and we must continue to do so.

That is why I am recommending that $100 million of this surplus be used to pay for the significant tax reductions which went into effect this month. This $100 million will go back into Maryland's economy ... back into the taxpayer's pockets. In fact, this cut in the personal income tax - the first in three decades - returns more than $1 billion to the people of Maryland over the next five years.

With the tax cuts in place and funded, a window of opportunity has opened. We may now do the one thing that will make the most difference in our children's lives: to make one-time investments in education - specifically, school construction.

You know my background. I was the first person in my family to go to college. My family was financially very poor. Education took me out of poverty. As a result, education has been the passion of my life. It has been and continues to be my top priority.

As a teacher, as a father, I have seen learning light up the face of a child. There is nothing more exciting. Over the past three years, we have improved the quality of our children's education. Statewide, we increased education spending for every child in Maryland. We provided funding to build, update or modernize more than 4,000 classrooms. And test scores are on the rise.

Now we have a tremendous opportunity to allocate an additional $222 million to build and to modernize even more classrooms, to reduce class size and to greatly improve the quality of education for every student in this state. We must continue to invest in our children and their future. It is what the people of Maryland want of us and what they expect of us.

This budget will provide an additional $181 million in education aid. Ladies and gentlemen, we should be very proud that state funding for our public schools will have increased by more than one-half billion dollars during this four-year term. This is more money than ever in the history of this state - money to be used for additional teachers, textbooks and to support science and arts programs.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Nancy Grasmick and Mr. Gene Counihan, I thank each of you for your work on the Education Task Force. You are absolutely correct! Increased accountability must go hand-in-hand with this commitment to education.

We will require that each jurisdiction develop a plan which ensures this record-setting amount of money gets to where it needs to go into the classrooms to improve the education of our children.

Through this plan, we will ensure that qualified certified teachers are hired to teach our children. We will support ongoing training and professional development for our teachers. We will ensure that jurisdictions do not cut their school funding because we increased ours. We will ensure that our children do, indeed, have the textbooks, computers and classrooms they need. And, we will ensure that discipline in our schools is strong so our teachers can teach and our children can learn.

Improving our public school libraries must be part of this agenda. We finally have the resources to help our school libraries replace out-of-date books and add new volumes.

Most of you know I have volunteered now for 13 years in our neighborhood elementary school. And as I was working in the library one day, I came across this book. It says 'Computers in Your Life.' And I looked at it and I immediately knew something was wrong because it just has a huge computer on the front.

And I opened the book and I find that the copyright date is 1981 - 1981. Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a computer expert but I can tell you this - if we're teaching our children with books that are dated 1981 for computers, we're teaching them about the history of computers, we're not preparing them for their future. To remedy such a situation, we will have a $3 million per year partnership program with local governments to modernize our school libraries and make them among the best in the nation.

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