The Maryland Public Policy Institute
ROCKVILLE, MD (June 17, 2015) — The Maryland Public Policy Institute today released a report card for the Maryland General Assembly’s 2015 legislative session, which concluded in April. The “Annapolis Report” is the first comprehensive report card on the Democratic-controlled legislature’s ability to work with new Republican Governor Larry Hogan and issues grades for their work on the state budget, education and other pressing issues. The full report can viewed at this link.
“There are rays of hope emerging from Annapolis,” said Christopher B. Summers, president of the Institute. “For the first time in years, state policy makers significantly slowed government spending, showed deference to individual freedoms, and expanded free enterprise for job creators. Our report makes clear that much work remains to be done in areas such as transportation and education, but early indications are that divided government will make Maryland stronger and more prosperous.”
Money: Grade – “B”
A legislative session without any new taxes or tax increases is a victory, and there is cause for optimism that the business climate will start to improve now that it is a priority. While State spending did increase in the State’s new budget, the increase is more modest than what occurred in recent years.
Crime: Grade – “B”
Enactment of legislation further decriminalizing the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana by adults shows that Maryland is recognizing that police have more important things to worry about. Especially in the wake of the Baltimore City riots, legislation mandating increased accountability and transparency in policing is a positive sign.
Education: Grade – “C”
A slight expansion of charter school autonomy this legislative session is the main cause for optimism. Funding for education grows slightly in the new budget, as it does every year, however mandated spending increases threaten to squeeze funding in other areas of the State budget.
Transportation: Grade – “D”
Progress on transportation was largely gridlocked. A bill to stop the phase-in of the gas tax increase was blocked. No decision has been reached on funding the Red and Purple Line transit projects, though the new Governor deserves time to properly study both. A disproportionate amount of funding relative to usage still flows towards public transit despite the fact that majority of majority of Marylanders commute by road.
About the Maryland Public Policy Institute: Founded in 2001, the Maryland Public Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization that focuses on state policy issues. The Institute’s mission is to formulate and promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society. Learn more at mdpolicy.org.