Maryland Gov. Wes Moore is delivering his first State of the State address Wednesday, according to WBALTV.
The State of the State address will be a defining moment for Moore with high expectations.
Traditionally the governor is obligated to provide an update on the state’s economy, the environment and the quality of life of Maryland residents. Moore has declared on several occasions that his administration aims to move fast and be bold and fearless.
The speech should reveal more of his legislative agenda. So far, Moore has announced two items: He’s committed to putting $30 million toward his Keep Our Heroes Home Act, which expands the military tax exemption to $25,000 a year and it increases to $40,000 the next two following years. The bill eliminates the age requirement and makes the tax break available to any military veteran or surviving spouse. Another agenda item allows Maryland National Guard members to be reimbursed for health and dental care.
The governor is expected to tout his commitment to public service. During his first week in office, he made service a priority by creating the cabinet position of the Department of Service and Civil Innovation. He’s providing $18 million in his FY2024 budget proposal over the next two years to fund the department. He wants to establish a paid service year option for all high school graduates that would allow young people to spend a year doing community service work.
The governor is expected to address how he will face anticipated economic headwinds over the next four years, which includes dealing with the rate of inflation and a possible recession.
The state is currently flush with cash due to a budget surplus and a hefty Rainy Day Fund balance. The governor expressed confidence last week that he will be able to accomplish an ambitious agenda without being reckless.
The governor’s proposed budget provides a roadmap of his priorities, including $500,000 to fund the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education plan. However, there is no mention of how he plans to fund free pre-K. He’s providing another $500,000 for transportation projects but has yet to detail what he has in mind.
Other priorities include a promise to end childhood poverty and filling thousands of job vacancies in state agencies.