January 30, 2019

General Assembly Democrats Respond to State of the State Address

Maryland Senate Democrats responded to the annual State of the State Address from Governor Larry Hogan noting stark contrasts in their legislative agendas and clear differences in their overall priorities.

The approximately 29-minute address from Hogan primarily centered on eight different tax cut proposals and ways that he believes the state has changed under his leadership. Additionally, the Governor touted the state of Maryland’s political landscape while making tongue-in-cheek discussion of Washington politics.

In beginning his remarks, Hogan jokingly thanked Speaker Busch for allowing him to make his address in the House Chamber at the same time noting the differences in Maryland politics and national politics. He stated: “We’ve shown the rest of America that a divided government does not have to be a divisive government.”

Some Democratic leaders noticed an absence of references to key issues of the middle-class on which they have focused their 2019 legislative agenda. Notably, Governor Hogan made no clear reference to many Democratic legislative initiatives including a proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $15.

At a Tuesday press conference, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (District 27 – Prince George’s, Charles, and Calvert) shared a willingness to work with the Governor but also noted the necessity of compromise on both sides. “We’re going to work with him on his issues, but guess what – he’s going to have to compromise in terms of working men and working women.”

The recently unveiled policy agenda of Maryland Democratic Leadership features bills focused on building and boosting Maryland’s middle-class through various means including raising the state minimum wage to $15 and increasing funding for the state childcare tax credit by $20 million dollars.

In the formal Democratic response to the State of the State Address, House of Delegates Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais stated: “Unlike Washington, we know how to find common ground when we need to – but we also have a different view from the Governor of the State’s role and ability to improve the lives of every day Marylanders.” She followed: “We will work with Governor Hogan when we can. But we will not sacrifice our Democratic values and principles to cut deals. We will stand up for the middle class families in this State.”

“Our program is about helping average working people,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Senator Jim Rosapepe (District 21 – Prince George’s and Anne Arundel). “We’re on the side of ordinary Marylanders.”

Legislative proposals from both the Governor and Democratic Leadership will be considered over the remainder of the 90-day legislative session. Wednesday, January 29th marked the 21st day of the legislative session and 69 days remain.