Carroll County legislators applaud Hogan's call for tax cuts in State of the State address

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted tax relief, cracking down on gun crime and education accountability as he stepped up to the dais in the Maryland House of Delegates to deliver his fifth State of State Address Wednesday — his first since becoming just the second Republican governor in state history to secure a second term.

His message, which irked the Maryland Democratic Party, resonated with Carroll County’s Republican state lawmakers.


Hogan said he is introducing eight legislative proposals to cut taxes by $500 million over the next five years. The governor’s proposals, he said, are aimed at helping retirees, working parents, small businesses and college graduates.

District 5 Republicans Sen. Justin Ready and Del. Haven Shoemaker appreciated what they described as an “aggressive” tax relief agenda.


“That struck a chord with me,” Shoemaker said.

“[Hogan] talked a lot about the need for us to continue — we’ve made a little bit of progress — but to continue bringing down the overall tax burden for working families, for small businesses and job creators and for retirees,” Ready said. “I was pleased with his emphasis there.”

The Maryland Democratic Party in a statement called Hogan’s tax cuts “incredibly irresponsible.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in his State of the State address that he's cut taxes, but experts say the claim stretches the meaning of a tax break. For instance, businesses and residents saved $240 million because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Other cuts came from Democratic bills Hogan signed.

“The truth is, this tax-cut will harm our efforts to strengthen public schools and provide affordable health insurance, both initiatives that are crucial for strengthening Maryland’s middle class,” Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the democratic party chair said in a statement.

Hogan in his speech said that he’d been told by many retirees around the state that they can’t afford to live in Maryland, and that his agenda hoped to help them.

Shoemaker said he “applauded enthusiastically for that portion of his speech.”

“The cost of living keeps going up,” said Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, and most retirees’ incomes don’t follow suit.

Added Del. April Rose, R-District 5, “We have people that are leaving because they can live in Delaware, Florida, North Carolina or South Carolina and pay a whole lot less on their retirement benefits, so they leave and they’re separated from their grandchildren, their families.”

Ready said his constituents have raised concerns to him about violent crime in Baltimore and surrounding areas.

The response of Democrats in Maryland's legislature to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's State of the State address: We will work with you "when we can." But, Del. Kathleen Dumais said in prepared remarks, "we will not sacrifice our Democratic values and principles to cut deals."

“He was emphasizing and focusing on the need for these repeat violent offenders to be getting real sentences, not just continuing to have charges waived down or judges not sentencing them to real hard time,” Ready said. “Mostly it’s Baltimore City judges, although there may be some others, that have been the issue. Just really bad, not sentencing appropriately for someone that’s been convicted of repeatedly being violent, especially with guns.”

Hogan’s legislative initiatives include initiatives to “track and publish” judges sentencing of violent crimes.

The second-term Republican governor also pointed to accountability in education. Hogan wants to see his administrations Accountability in Education Act of 2019 enacted. The bill would create a unit to “investigate, analyze, and report” issues related to public schools.


That’s a cause Rose supports. She said there are numerous examples of county school systems across the state mismanaging funds.

“These are taxpayer dollars,” Rose said, “and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having accountability built into some sort of process to make sure that things are being wisely, properly and that the money goes where it’s supposed to go.”

Krebs added that having good schools is a nonpartisan concept. But she echoed Rose’s account that accountability is key. She said it’s still unclear whether the investment in all-day kindergarten has paid dividends.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan used his first State of the State address since being re-elected to push for targeted tax credits for retirees, longer sentences for gun offenders and more state oversight of local school systems.

“Are kids ready for first grade?” Krebs said. “We’re willing to spend the money, but the accountability has to be there.”

Ready also praised the way Hogan has “reached out and helped counties like Carroll get extra help for their education budget.”

“He’s always been good to look after us,” Ready said, “and really all the jurisdictions to be sure that it’s not just a couple jurisdictions that are getting extra help on education, but that counties like Carroll are as well.”

Hogan spoke of progressing projects to improve infrastructure — particularly roads — in most jurisdictions across the state. Shoemaker also lauded the governor’s focus on roads, instead of public transit.

“We have a tremendous amount of traffic congestion in Maryland,” Shoemaker said. “Instead of continuing to throw money down the rat hole that is mass transit, he wants to spend money on roads that people in Maryland actually use.”

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