OPINION: Strengthening Our Economy

Commentary by Martin O'Malley, Governor

(Aug. 18, 2009) Today, we held the official swearing-in ceremony for the Maryland Economic Development Commission, re-launching the inactive Commission at a time when private investment in our economy is critical to our recovery efforts.

The Commission will help shape Maryland's business policy, regulation and legislation. As part of its mission, they will develop a 10-year strategic plan for Maryland's economy, solicit input from businesses from every region of the state and provide recommendations on current and potential issues impacting Maryland's businesses.

Despite these uncertain economic times, Maryland remains in a better position than most other States to come through this national recession quickly. Why?

-- In Maryland, we have what Education Week Magazine says are the #1 best public schools in America, and therefore we have one of the nation's most highly skilled workforces.

-- Economists believe that the changes our national economy is going through will most likely benefit the sectors of health care, sustainability, and information technology – these are all areas where Maryland excels and enjoys a competitive advantage over our counterparts.

-- By way of example, our education and health services sector grew by 2.5 percent last year, gaining 9,400 jobs. In another example, our professional, scientific, and technical services sector gained 4,200 jobs. So while we want to do better, we're seeing positive signs.

-- We are one of only seven states that continues to defend a Triple A Bond Rating, the highest possible rating.

-- Our unemployment rate in Maryland continues to be more than 20 percent lower than the national rate.

While there is still a ways to go before we come through the other side of this national recession, we can't get to the finish line without strengthening businesses throughout our State. That includes our appointees to the Maryland Economic Development Commission, who will help us leverage all of our State's economic strengths.

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