From the Senate Minority Office:
In front of a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chamber this afternoon, Governor Larry Hogan delivered his first State of the State Address and outlined his legislative agenda for the remainder of the 2015 session, which includes the repeal of the rain tax, the restoration of highway user revenues, and the expansion of Maryland’s public charter school program.
Speaking after the Governor’s address, Senate Republicans praised the proposals Hogan set forth as a great step in a positive, new direction for the state. “I think it’s great to see the Governor commit to a full repeal of the rain tax,” said Senator Wayne Norman (R – Harford and Cecil Counties). “It’s not fair to the people who live here, and it’s not fair to the businesses that operate here. Just last month we repealed our mandate up in Harford County, but it’s time we got this burden off the books completely. The people have spoken: the rain tax has to go.”
Senator Bryan Simonaire (R – Anne Arundel County) spoke on the topic of highway user revenue, saying, “Out of all the problems caused by the previous administration, possibly the single most harmful was the continuous raiding of the Transportation Trust Fund to plug holes in the budget. They’ve missed out on over $2 billion in expected funding since 2010—and you can tell that just by looking at the state of our roads. Governor Hogan’s supplemental budget and legislative proposal go a long way toward making good on those lost funds.”
“What I’m most excited about,” said Senator Gail Bates (R – Howard and Carroll Counties), “is the huge expansion of our public charter school system. For far too long in Maryland, students’ academic success or failure has been greatly determined by where they live, not the work they do. With his plan, the Governor is not just giving Maryland families greater freedom to decide where they want their children to go to school, but he is also giving educators the tools and support they need to make that vision of school choice a reality.”
Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R – Harford and Baltimore Counties) summed everything up: “These measures are exactly what the people of Maryland have been demanding for the last eight years. There’s been plenty of talk about bipartisanship since Election Day, but this is when we see who is actually committed to it and who was just posturing. It’s going to be a tough battle getting these bills through the legislature, but for the sake of our constituents, it’s a battle we’ve got to win.”