A Discussion With Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley
Time magazine called him one of the America's five best mayors. That's because during his six years as mayor of Baltimore City, he spearheaded programs that reduced violent crime, increased achievement and test scores across the board in city schools, and reduced property taxes to a 30-year low. Indeed, during Martin O'Malley's two terms as mayor, Baltimore became a national model for improvement in public safety, government efficiency, education, and economic development. Now, O'Malley is hoping to repeat the performance at the state level.
On higher education. In higher education, we are taking the first step to make a college education more affordable. We've put funding in the budget to enable an in-state tuition freeze - to give parents and students a breather after the large increases of the past few years. And we will work with the General Assembly to find a long-term solution to college affordability.
We're increasing community colleges funding by 18 percent - plus we're making the biggest capital investment ever in our community college campuses. Community colleges are a critical link to opportunity for many families. We need to recognize the contribution they make to our economy. We're increasing fundingand financial aid for Maryland's historically black colleges and universities - and building long-needed projects. And we are increasing support for our research institutions - and science, technology, engineering, and math programs - to help build Maryland's economic future.
On transportation infrastructure. As we undertake a comprehensive review of Maryland's transportation system, we are investing $1 billion in roads across the state. We're investing in transit - to get cars off the road and reduce traffic. We're investing in dredging to make the Port of Baltimore more competitive. And we are upgrading Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport - to support an important economic engine for our state.
On jobs and the economy. We are making strategic investments to continue Maryland's economic growth - and expand opportunity for our neighbors in every jurisdiction. We're investing to support small and minority business entrepreneurs - who represent a dynamic, growing segment of our economy. We're investing in bringing broadband service to rural communities - 26 Eastern Shore communities - to support employers and new jobs. And we're supporting technology transfer and incubator programs to help companies develop the new ideas the will build our economy.
On public safety. In public safety, we're making our prisons more secure - with new facilities, 155 more correctional officers, and investments in security cameras and equipment. We're improving monitoring of sexual offenders with global positioning systems tracking - and providing local law enforcement with funding to do a better job. We're tackling the shameful backlog of DNA samples - to help ensure that criminals who commit violent crimes are taken off the street as soon as humanly possible. And we are investing in treatment and mental health services in the Department of Juvenile Services.
On healthcare. To improve our state's health and expand our leadership in science and healing, we're investing an additional $25 million in stem cell research - $10 million more than last year. We are expanding our efforts to serve seniors, helping 39,000 older Marylanders with prescription drug costs. We are restoring funding to care for legal immigrant mothers and children. We are increasing drug treatment funding by $5 million. And we are boosting reimbursement for doctors and mental health providers - and improving community health facilities - to strengthen Maryland's healthcare system