Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) used his 2010 state of the state address Feb. 2 to push for job-creating policies, measures to help people stay in their homes and a general fund budget that spends less than the state did just four years ago.
In a speech that was both a recollection of difficult decisions gone by and a call for further action to help struggling citizens, O'Malley recalled already-enacted budget cuts that have helped the state weather the Great Recession and Maryland's relatively low 7.5 percent unemployment rate, compared to 10 percent nationally, as positive signs looking forward.
"In times of great adversity, we don't make excuses — we make progress," O'Malley told the Democratic-controlled Legislature in his 30-minute address. "As a result of the choices we've made in the face of adversity, the state of our State is stronger than most, and in areas like public education, it is stronger than every other state in the union."
O'Malley, who is running for re-election this year, proposed a $3,000 tax credit for every unemployed person a company hires and $83 million in tax relief for small businesses amid "rapidly escalating" unemployment insurance premiums, moves he said would help spark hiring.
The governor also took aim at Wall Street and mortgage brokers, calling for lawmakers to "stand up for homeowners in Maryland and put them on an equal footing with these faceless giants." He asked the Legislature to pass legislation that would force mortgage companies to "come to the settlement table" with homeowners before foreclosing on a property.