Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Three Va. State Troopers struck and injured in one day

February 25, 2015

Be careful out there: According to WUSA9…


WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Three Virginia State Troopers were struck by cars in a twelve-hour period on Tuesday.

"Not common to have two in one day, but it is common to have a trooper or another law enforcement officer struck while working on the side of the highway," Virginia State Police Sergeant Steven Mittendorff explained.

The troopers involved in the accidents all suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to Virginia State Police.

The first accident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. along the southbound lanes of I-95 near the 152 mile marker in Prince William County, police said.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rob Richards, a Marine sniper who served three tours in Afghanistan, has been laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery

Rob Richards, a Marine sniper who served three tours in Afghanistan, has been laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery

Semper Fi brother.

Rob Richards, a Marine sniper who served three tours in Afghanistan, has died of an accidental overdose of painkillers. Read the full story, by Washington Post writer Greg Jaffee, here:

Mr. Jaffee did a good job with a difficult story and for that I salute him… Thank you.

In part, Jaffee wrote, “His three combat tours in Afghanistan had been boiled down to a 38-second video clip, played and replayed on YouTube more than a million times…


“More than two years later — long after the rest of the country had moved on to other scandals — Richards, 28, died at home and alone from an accidental painkiller overdose.

Now an ammunition can carrying his cremated remains sat on the table of a hotel bar in Arlington, Va., as his family, friends and fellow Marines swirled around it.

Almost everything about war is complicated, messy or morally fraught; in this case even more so. A Marine vilified by his country’s leaders and court-martialed for “bringing discredit to the armed forces” would soon be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the country’s most hallowed ground. On this mid-February night before the funeral, dozens who knew Richards beyond those 38 seconds gathered to celebrate his life…”


As the months passed, Richards worried that the 38 seconds would follow him for the rest of his life. The investigation and court-martial took nearly two years before the Marine Corps offered Richards a plea deal that reduced him a rank to corporal and allowed him to leave the military with an honorable discharge. Richards felt abandoned by the Marine brass who had heaped praise on his unit when they were killing Taliban. He had hoped to get into defense contracting after the military, but he worried that no one in the industry would ever hire him.

“He felt backed into a corner,” his wife recalled. “He always said, ‘It’s all I’ll ever be known for.’

After the military, Richards fell into a depression and became addicted to opiates. Eventually, he went through drug counseling. He and his wife separated briefly and then reunited after he had finished treatment.


A few days before he died, Richards and his wife had put in an offer on a house near Orlando, where they both had attended high school. They had already begun to box up their possessions for the move from their home in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

She came home from work that evening and found his body on the floor outside the kitchen. Later doctors would speculate that his weakened liver had been unable to metabolize the prescription painkillers that were slowly building up in his system.

There are many reactions to seeing death: Raechel’s was disbelief. “Not like this,” she would remember screaming as she stood near her husband. “Not like this.”

Greg Jaffe covers the White House for The Washington Post, where he has been since March 2009.

God Bless him for his service to our country.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Services at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster Md are cancelled for Sunday February 22, 2015

Services at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster Md are cancelled for Sunday February 22, 2015

According to an alert released by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) early Saturday evening, February 21, 2015, “Hazardous road conditions exist due to winter storm - stay off the roads to allow the crews to clear them and to allow emergency providers to respond during this time. Check in on family, friends, and neighbors - especially the elderly or disabled. Keep devices charged to follow weather and local emergency information. Be cautious when shoveling snow to avoid over exertion.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Grace Lutheran Church at 21 Carroll Street in Westminster Md., cancelled all services and Christian education on both Saturday evening and on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Please join us for worship this coming Wednesday at 7 p.m. with soup at 6! Stay safe!

Services at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster Md are cancelled for Sunday Feb. 22, 2015
Baltimore Sun Carroll Eagle: 


Tumblr: Kevin Dayhoff Banana Stems

Kevin Dayhoff is an artist - and a columnist for:


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Google profile:

E-mail: kevindayhoff(at)

My columns appear in the copy of the Baltimore Sunday Sun that is distributed in Carroll County:

See also - Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art Travel, art, artists, authors, books, newspapers, media, writers and writing, journalists and journalism, reporters and reporting, music, culture, opera... Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem. “Deadline U.S.A.” 1952. Ed Hutcheson: “That's the press, baby. The press! And there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing!” - See more at:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A station of the cross at St Mary's Catholic Church in Wooster Ohio


St Mary of Immaculate Conception 527 Beall Ave Wooster OH


James L. Dolan, a Consummate 1 Percenter -

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Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art Travel, art,artists, authors, books, newspapers, media, writers and writing, journalistsand journalism, reporters and reporting, music, culture, opera... Ad maioremDei gloriam inque hominum salutem. “Deadline U.S.A.” 1952. Ed Hutcheson:“That's the press, baby. The press! And there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing!”- See more at:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I-71 north to Cleveland in lake effect heavy snow - 14 degrees. No worries.


White-out snowfall at the Medina Public Square Ice Sculpture Festival in Ohio


Making dog treats at at 45 Public Square Medina Ohio


On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine."


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anarchist hackers go to cyber war with ISIS | TheHill

Anarchist hackers go to cyber war with ISIS | TheHill: "By Elise Viebeck - 02/12/15 06:00 AM EST

Anarchist hackers go to cyber war with ISIS | TheHill: "By Elise Viebeck

The global hacker collective known as Anonymous is storming the international political scene with a brash hacking campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  

 The shadowy anarchist group, which is known for waging online attacks on everyone from the U.S. government to the Church of Scientology, is trying to dismantle the vast social media operation that helps ISIS recruit new followers.  

 By exposing and disabling hundreds of Twitter accounts, email addresses and websites purportedly affiliated with ISIS, hackers with Anonymous are all but inviting the notoriously Web-savvy terrorist group to an online war.  

“In an interesting way, they are set up as perfect nemeses,” said Gabriella Coleman, anthropologist and author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. “There are a lot of similarities in terms of how they use social media. It doesn’t surprise me that they would battle each other online.”  

 Anonymous first became a force online in 2003, when like-minded users of the website 4chan began staging pranks on social media networks...


'via Blog this

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Maryland ranked one of the ten worst states for retirement in the universe

Maryland ranked one of the ten worst states for retirement in the universe

10 worst states for retirement By Chris Kahn •

Not dated – Retrieved February 10, 2015

Retirement » 10 Worst States For Retirement

Follow us: @Bankrate on Twitter | Bankrate on Facebook

It's hard to be flexible on a fixed income. That's why some of America's prettiest, most vibrant locations are also some of the toughest on retirees.

They're usually more expensive, for example, with higher rents and more expensive restaurants. Tax rates also tend to be higher in urban areas. They also may not be as safe.

With that in mind, Bankrate ranked each state based on a variety of factors that everyone should consider before making a move into -- or out of -- their home state. They include a specialized cost-of-living index for retirees, crime statistics, tax rates and comprehensive weather data that factor in sunshine and humidity. Also new this year: Bankrate beefed up its ranking for health care quality, and consulted an extensive survey called the Gallup-Healthways' Well-Being Index. The index gauges the level of satisfaction residents report about their surroundings.

The states that fell to the bottom of our list still have a lot to offer. In fact, many are home to the top tourism destinations in the world. The problem, in the end, is that choosing a good place to retire isn't as easy as picking a vacation spot. Costs matter more. The local culture and infrastructure also matter.

Here, in descending order, are 10 of the lowest-ranking states for retirees based on our criteria.


The primary knock on Maryland is that it's more expensive to live there than in many other states. The cost of living for retirees is especially high, and residents pay one of the highest tax rates in the country.

Beware of currency conversion fees By Claes Bell, CFA •

Beware of currency conversion fees By Claes Bell, CFA •


Rick Steves’ Europe: Card Fees (and How to Avoid Them)

By Rick Steves Retrieved February 6, 2015 One has a particularly good reputation for no-fee international transactions on both its credit cards and its debit cards linked to a checking account. Most credit unions have low-to-no international transaction fees. Bankrate has a good comparison chart of major credit cards and their currency-conversion fees….

Beware of currency conversion fees By Claes Bell, CFA •

Credit Cards » Beware Of Currency Conversion Fees

If you do a lot of international traveling, you've probably been stung by an unpleasant surprise lurking at the bottom of your bank statement or credit card bill: a currency conversion fee. While the CARD Act has done plenty to reduce sometimes exorbitant credit card fees, it left currency conversion fees untouched, ensuring travelers will have at least one unpleasant vacation memory.

Consult this chart to see the fees charged by the largest U.S. credit card issuers.

Capital One

ATM withdrawal: None for online accounts, $1.50 for some accounts opened in bank branches

Credit card purchase: None

Debit card purchase: None

Credit card cash advance: None

Fees charged even if transaction is in U.S. dollars?: No

Rick Steves’ Europe: Card Fees (and How to Avoid Them)

Travelers returning from Europe often open their mail to discover they paid more for their trip than they thought they had. Over the last decade, banks have dramatically increased their fees for overseas transactions. While these fees are legal, they’re basically a slimy way for credit-card companies to wring a few more dollars out of their customers.


So, how can a smart traveler avoid — or at least reduce — these fees? Here are a few suggestions.


If you’re getting a bad deal, get a new card. Some companies offer lower international fees than others — and some don’t charge any at all. If you’re going on a long trip, do some research and consider taking out a card just for international purchases. Capital One has a particularly good reputation for no-fee international transactions on both its credit cards and its debit cards linked to a checking account. Most credit unions have low-to-no international transaction fees. Bankrate has a good comparison chart of major credit cards and their currency-conversion fees.


Avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC). Some European merchants — capitalizing on the fact that many Americans are intimidated by unusual currencies — cheerfully charge you for converting their prices to dollars before running your credit card. Read more:

Related articles


Memo to Md Gov. Larry Hogan: Always understand the context in which you serve.

The newly-elected Md. Gov. Larry Hogan, is a likeable-enough guy; but now is the time to stop campaigning and start governing.

Kevin E. Dayhoff, February 9, 2015

Apparently, the Baltimore Sun sees it as many do; now is the time for Gov. Hogan to govern. Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address February 4, 2015 was a page from the playbook of President Barrack Obama that has failed so miserably.

That is, know when it is the time to be a statesperson and govern and when to stop campaigning.

Now President Obama cannot help himself. He suffers from a destructive narcissistic personality disorder.

But the newly elected Republican governor of Maryland ought to have known better.

As much as many in his base agreed with every comment uttered in the state of the state address, it was mistake to say it. We get it. And it was an unnecessary exposure to say it.

To say much of what he said in the hallowed halls of Md. State Senate President Mike Miller and Md Speaker of the House Mike Busch is tantamount to the old adage, don’t tug on superman’s cape, and don’t spit in the wind….

Now is the time to move-on to the business of governance in the Maryland General Assembly, a government whose feudal middle-ages roots were laid before the birth of the modern Westphalian State in 1648 - a medieval byzantine environment that is ruled by feudal lords of the manor that are inherently hostile to dissent and have no concept of accountability or being held responsible for their behavior.

The governor should take a memo; now is the time to stop preaching to the choir and reach out into the Maryland General Assembly audience and start winning folks over. In this business one accumulates enemies, do not go out of your way to make any.

All the state of the state did was feed red meat to the liberal lions of the Maryland General Assembly and they reacted predictably. It was the mistake of someone who had never held elected office before. It was the sophomoric mistake of a rookie and candidly, the governor is surrounded by enough veterans that the mistake ought to have been avoided.

That said, it is often been stated that the reaction to a problem is often as critical as to the problem itself. Fortunately the governor is a likable-enough guy who roots in real estate transactions have taught him that it is better to be loved than feared.

The Senate President on the other hand, is so powerful – arguably one of the most powerful elected officials in the entire nation - - that he does not care whether or not you like him. He is simply to be feared.

In this case the reaction by the Senate President Mike Miller was the mistake of someone so arrogant as to believe that he so powerful that the rules do not apply - that he would not be held responsible for his actions or behavior. President Miller’s behavior was a manifestation of how dare this conservative Republican upstart tread into my pond and row around spewing such blasphemy.

It brings to mind another rule: Always understand the context in which you serve.

Candidly, if the shoe were on the other foot, and a liberal had rowed into a conservative stronghold and thumbed their nose at the powers-that-be; conservatives probably would not have reacted any better. We hope they would have, but maybe not.

In this case, the case of the Senate President; the reaction was so over-the-top and cringe worthy that even the Baltimore Sun cringed.

Read the first two paragraphs of the Sunpapers’ response here and be sure to go to and read the rest. It is well worth the time.

Baltimore Sun Editorial: Miller overreacts, Hogan benefits February 9, 2015

We doubt Gov. Larry Hogan intended to make Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's head explode with his State of the State speech last week, but it might wind up working out for him politically, if not for the people of the state substantively. The governor's address was heavy on recycled bromides from his stump speech and not equal to the occasion, but it looks downright statesmanlike in comparison to the ensuing petulant overreaction from the Senate president and his loyal lieutenants. Nonetheless, it may have given Democrats an excuse to kill legislation they didn't like anyway.

On Friday, the Senate delayed confirmation votes for the first five of Mr. Hogan's cabinet secretary nominees to come before it, and senators were not at all subtle about the connection between that decision and the State of the State speech. The contrast with Mr. Miller's attitude on the opening day of the legislative session, when he predicted before even holding any hearings that all of Mr. Hogan's nominees would be confirmed, is not flattering. It suggests that the Senate's role to advise and consent is a function of the Senate president's mood and not the quality of the nominees…

Also be sure to read: Miller’s joke with one appointee could prove prophetic By: Bryan P. Sears Daily Record Business Writer  February 9, 2015

Millennials Shying Away From Credit Cards? | By Jean Chatzky

I found this fascinating... Millennials Shying Away From Credit Cards? | By Jean Chatzky

Millennials Shying Away From Credit Cards? | "How many credit cards do millennials have in their wallets on average? One, three, five? Surprisingly, the answer is closer to none, according to a new Bankrate study of millennials and their money." Read more:

'via Blog this'

Monday, February 09, 2015

Rob Lowe Burns President Obama for His Interviews with Youtube Stars and Twitter Roars in Approval

Rob Lowe Burns President Obama for His Interviews with Youtube Stars and Twitter Roars in Approval

This is the president who won the Nobel Peace Prize and campaigned that he was going to solve all the conflicts of the world by talking to anyone and everyone…

Weeks later I am still laughing…. 

LOL On Jan. 22, 2015, Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) caused a Twitter uproar when he asked: "Hold up. Is it true that a woman who eats cereal out of a bathtub gets to meet with the President and the Prime Minister of Israel does not?"

Oh my - this won't do. I'm sure Bibi - Just saying...

Rob Lowe Burns President Obama for His Interviews with Youtube Stars and Twitter Roars in Approval


On the heels of the dust-up over the news that the President will not be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he speaks to a joint session of Congress in March, actor Rob Lowe asked a very pertinent question via Twitter….

Now comes the backlash to the Bibi backlash.

By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jake Sherman


Now comes the backlash to the Bibi backlash.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Recognizing the 105th birthday of Boy Scouts of America at Grace Lutheran Church


Politico: Benjamin Netanyahu’s side strikes back

Benjamin Netanyahu’s side strikes back

Now comes the backlash to the Bibi backlash.

By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jake Sherman


Now comes the backlash to the Bibi backlash.

Republican and conservative Jewish organizations are threatening shaming campaigns against Democrats who skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to a joint meeting of Congress next month. Even talking about not showing, they say, is forsaking America’s relationship with Israel.

Joe Biden apparently isn't worried. A spokesperson for the vice president on Friday said Biden would not preside over the joint meeting because he'll be travelling abroad.

The furor around the speech, which Democrats say is forcing them to choose between loyalty to Israel and loyalty to their party, reflects a slow transformation. Though the overwhelming majority of American Jewish voters remain Democrats, Jewish Republicans have grown in numbers and influence. That’s a trend conservative Israeli politicians, led by Netanyahu, are seeking to use to their advantage—and a small number of well-funded right-leaning American Jews are eager to exploit.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address

Text of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address courtesy of the Washington Post February 4, 2015

February 4, 2015

The following is the prepared text of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s first State of the State address, delivered to a joint session of the Maryland General Assembly on Feb. 4, 2015 Courtesy of the Washington Post:

Speaker Busch, President Miller, members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honor, and I am truly humbled, for the opportunity to appear before this 435th General Assembly - as Maryland’s new governor - to report on the state of our state.

Marylanders are among the nation’s hardest working and most educated people. We have universities and schools that are among the best in the nation.

No state can match the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, our beaches and farms, or the mountains of Western Maryland, the Port of Baltimore, or the historic charm of every corner of our state.

But while our assets are many, and our people are strong and hopeful, their state is simply not as strong as it could be - or as it should be.

We have a lot to do, to get Maryland back on track and working again.

The challenges we face are great.

High taxes, over-regulation, and an anti-business attitude are clearly the cause of our economic problems. Our economy is floundering, and too many Marylanders have been struggling, just to get by.

40 consecutive tax hikes have taken an additional $10 billion out of the pockets of struggling Maryland families and small businesses. We’ve lost more than 8,000 businesses, and Maryland’s unemployment nearly doubled.

We’re number three in the nation in foreclosures, and dead last in manufacturing. We’ve had the largest mass exodus of taxpayers fleeing our state - of any state in our region, and one of the worst in the nation.

And, while most states around the country have turned the corner - sadly, Maryland continues to languish behind. The federal government ranked our state’s economy 49th out of 50 states.

That is simply unacceptable.

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of all Marylanders would leave the state if they could. As a lifelong Marylander who loves this state - that just breaks my heart.

We fail all Marylanders if we simply accept these dismal facts as the status quo.

Well - I refuse to accept the status quo, because the people of Maryland deserve better.

Over the past few years, as I traveled across the state, I listened to the concerns of Marylanders from all walks of life. The common theme I kept hearing was frustration. People everywhere feel a real disconnect between Annapolis and the rest of Maryland. They feel that we are way off track, heading in the wrong direction, and that change is desperately needed in Annapolis.

The problems we face aren’t Democratic problems, or Republican problems. These are Maryland’s problems.

And they will require common sense, Maryland solutions. With the will of the people behind us, and with all of us working together, we can put Maryland back on track.

And we will.

Today, Marylanders look to us for leadership. They look to us to put Maryland on a new path, toward opportunity and prosperity for all our citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for us to listen to Maryland’s hard working taxpayers and our job creators.

The people of Maryland simply cannot afford for us to continue on the same path of more spending, more borrowing, more taxes, and politics as usual.

It is time for a new direction for Maryland.

Our administration will chart a new course; one guided by simple, common sense principles. Our focus will be on jobs, struggling Maryland families, and restoring our economy.

And every decision I make as governor will be put to a simple test.

Will this law or action make it easier for families and small businesses to stay in Maryland?

And - will it make more families and small businesses want to come to Maryland?

Our administration will work with all of you to enact the necessary budgets, tax reductions, regulatory reforms, and legislation that is necessary, to ensure that we turn our economy around.

Just 24 hours after being sworn into office, I proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that fairly and responsibly controls spending.

When my team began the budgeting process, we encountered a baseline budget of $17 billion in expenses and projected revenue of only $16.3 billion. The state was poised to somehow spend $700 million that we simply did not have.

Mandatory payments on state debt had increased by 96 percent just this year. We face an $18.7 billion unfunded pension liability.

Faced with this troubling reality, we revised that script - delivering a fiscally responsible budget that only expends what we take in. This is just common sense. And will come as no surprise to anyone that manages a family’s finances, or runs a small business.

Our team created a structurally balanced budget for the first time in nearly a decade. This budget sends a clear and important message that the days of deficit spending in Maryland are over.

We had to make some very tough decisions in just the first few days of our administration in order to get this state budget under control. But our budget puts Maryland on sound financial footing, without raising taxes or fees, without eliminating agencies, departments, or services, without imposing furloughs and without laying off a single state employee.

Our new budget also funds our priorities, including providing record investment in K-12 education and increased investment in higher education.

This proposed FY2016 budget is just a start. We will have much more to do in the days and months ahead to correct our state’s fiscal course. I am eager to work cooperatively with the General Assembly to meet these challenges head on.

Before I became governor, increases in spending were promised that simply could not be kept. If ever Maryland needed a dose of honesty, it’s now.

The debates that take place in this chamber in the weeks ahead cannot ignore the certainty of our current fiscal situation. We will make every effort to be fair, judicious and thoughtful, and my administration will work hard to preserve jobs and to fund priorities.

Budget choices are never easy, and you may have different ideas and solutions. And we look forward to hearing them, and to working together with you to find common ground.

As long as those solutions don’t include increasing taxes, spending more than we take in, or going further into debt.

And remember, every penny that is added to one program, must be taken from another.

Failing to spend the taxpayer’s money in a responsible way could eventually jeopardize our ability to adequately fund education, transportation, environmental programs, and provide support to the vulnerable and those most in need.

We simply cannot let that happen.

So, how do we begin to change direction, and to improve the state that we all love?

It wont happen overnight, and there will be times and issues that will test us all, but there are a number of initial actions that I believe we must begin working on immediately.

1. Making Maryland More Competitive

Maryland’s anti-business attitude, combined with our onerous tax and regulatory policies have rendered our state unable to compete with any of the states in our region. It’s the reason that businesses, jobs and taxpayers have been fleeing our state at an alarming rate.

It’s at the heart of the fiscal and economic issues we are currently dealing with, and it is something we must find solutions to.

A year ago, I held my second annual Change Maryland Business Summit on Improving Maryland’s Economic Competitiveness.

We became the leading voice on these issues - it’s the reason I have the honor of being your governor, and it will be the primary focus of our administration.

I want to commend Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch for recognizing the need to make Maryland more economically competitive.

A year ago, at their urging, this legislature created the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission, also known as the Augustine Commission, to make recommendations to make Maryland competitive. It was a great first step, and we are anxiously awaiting the recommendations of this commission.

But, I am confident that we will find many areas of agreement to make Maryland a more business friendly and more competitive state, so that we can create more jobs and more opportunities for our citizens.

2. Making State Government More Efficient And More Responsive

I’m proud of the experienced, diverse and bipartisan Cabinet that we have assembled to take over the reigns of state government.

Many of them bring fresh, innovative ideas and valuable real world, private-sector management expertise to their agencies. Their primary mission will be to find ways to restructure their agencies and to make state government more efficient, and more cost effective.

But, we also want to change the culture of state government.

The voters have given us an opportunity to build a government that works for the people - and not the other way around.

Comptroller Franchot noted at his swearing-in last week that we must reinstate old-fashioned customer service to every aspect of government.

I completely agree - and together we will.

3. Repealing The Rain Tax

Dealing with the problem of storm water management and working to restore our most treasured asset, the Chesapeake Bay, is a goal we all strongly agree on.

But in my humble opinion, passing a state law that forced certain counties to raise taxes on their citizens - against their will - may not have been the best way to address the issue.

If there was one message that Marylanders have made perfectly clear it was that taxing struggling and already overtaxed Marylanders for the rain that falls on the roof of their homes was a mistake that needs to be corrected.

This week, our administration will submit legislation to repeal the rain tax.

4. Tax Relief For Retirees

Nearly every day I hear from folks who say that they love the state of Maryland, that they have spent their entire lives here, and that they don’t want to leave their kids and grandkids. But, that they simply cannot afford to stay here on a fixed income.

We are losing many of our best and brightest citizens to other states.

Eventually, once we solve our current budget crisis, and turn our economy around, I want to reach the point where we are able to do away with income taxes on all retirement income, just as many other states have done.

This week, we will start heading toward that goal by submitting legislation that repeals income taxes on pensions for retired military, police, fire, and first responders.

These brave men and women have put their lives on the line for us - they deserve it - and they have earned these tax breaks.

5. Tax Relief For Small businesses

I have spent most of my life in the private sector, running a small business in a state that, at times, seemed openly hostile to people like me.

There is much more for us to do, but as a first step, I’m proposing cutting personal property taxes for small businesses.

This burdensome tax and bureaucratic paperwork discourages the creation of new business, and drives small businesses and jobs elsewhere.

This legislation would create a tax exemption on the first $10,000 in personal property, entirely eliminating this tax for more than 70,000 small business owners -- or one-half of all Maryland’s businesses.

6. Repealing Automatic Gas Tax Increases

After syphoning a billion dollars from the Transportation Trust Fund, a decision was made to enact the largest gas tax increase in state history. This legislation also included language that would automatically increase taxes every single year without it ever having a coming up for a vote.

Marylanders deserve the transparency to know how their elected leaders vote every time the state takes a bigger share of their hard-earned dollars. This is a regressive tax that hurts struggling Maryland families and our most vulnerable, and which adds to the cost of almost everything.

These automatic tax increases should be repealed, and we will submit legislation to do so.

7. Improving Transportation

Over the last several years, monies for local road improvements have been slashed by up to 96 percent.

Our administration is committed to restoring the money that was taken from the transportation trust fund, and to making sure that it never happens again.

Today I am pleased to announce a supplemental to our FY2016 budget that will increase Highway User Revenues by $25 million and give counties and municipalities the most money for road improvements that they have received since FY 2009.

Further, we are committed to increasing the local share of Highway User Revenues from 10% today to its original high point of 30% over the next 8 years.

This initial tax relief package is just a starting point in the process of rebuilding our state’s economy, and of course tax relief is only part of the solution. We have other important initiatives as well.

8. Improving Education For All Maryland children

Education is our top priority.

In our proposed budget, we spend more money on education than ever before. We fund K-12 education at record levels and have committed over $290 million to school construction.

And this is the first time in history that any administration has provided additional supplemental funding for education through GCEI in their first year.

We have some great schools here in Maryland, but the gap between the best and the worst schools is dramatic.

I believe that every child in Maryland deserves a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they grow up in. We must fix our under-performing schools while also giving parents and children realistic and better alternatives.

So, let’s expand families choices. Let’s encourage more public charter schools to open and operate in Maryland.

This month, our administration will submit legislation to strengthen Maryland’s charter school law. This legislation will expand choices for families and make it easier for more public charter schools to operate in Maryland.

Our administration will also push for the enactment of the “Building Opportunities for All Students and Teachers” legislation, also known as “BOAST.”

It provides tax credits to those who make voluntary contributions to private or parochial schools, and it will help free up more money and resources for our students in public schools.

This legislation has been debated in these chambers for more than a decade. The Senate has already voted to support it. We need to work to convince our colleagues in the House that it is the right thing to do.

9. Protecting The Environment

A healthy Bay is key to a strong economy and high quality of life – for all Marylanders. It will be a top priority of our administration.

Even after spending $15 billion in Maryland tax dollars, the health of our Chesapeake Bay has declined. Maryland just received a D+ on a recent report card.

This is just the latest indicator that our current strategy for protecting and restoring our greatest natural asset is failing. Our administration intends to reverse that trend.

It’s time for a new approach. We can, and we must do better.

We all agree on the problem: there’s too much phosphorous, nitrogen, and sediment entering our bay. We must take action to prevent as much of this pollution as possible from entering the bay.

However - restoration of our bay must not fall on one group disproportionately. Placing unreasonable burdens upon Maryland’s farmers will serve only to devastate more rural communities.

We will work with the agricultural and environmental communities to find fair and balanced solutions for limiting phosphorus. In addition, we will take a comprehensive approach to restoring our bay by addressing the long-ignored impact of upstream polluters, and the sediment spilling over the Conowingo Dam.

We will work with all stakeholders to come up with fresh, innovative solutions to protect and restore our greatest natural asset.

10. Tackling Maryland’s Heroin Epidemic

As I travel throughout our state, I hear the devastating stories from our families and friends who hurt from the devastation heroin has wreaked on our communities.

Throughout Maryland, from our smallest town to our biggest city, it has become an epidemic, and it is destroying lives. I have tasked Lt. Governor Rutherford with bringing together all of the stakeholders in order to come up with a plan to tackle this emergency.

Later this month, we will execute an executive order to address this heroin epidemic.

11. Campaign Finance And Election Reform

The strength of our democracy rests on a balanced, honest and open political process that challenges convention and encourages progress.

The Fair Campaign Financing Act for gubernatorial elections provides this balance and opens discord. It levels the playing field and holds our elected leaders accountable.

And while many said we would never elect a governor because of the low spending limits mandated in our public finance laws, I stand before you today as proof that the system does work.

We must replenish this fund as soon as possible and make it available for future candidates. Therefore, we will submit legislation to reinstate the voluntary check-off which allows a taxpayer to make a donation to go towards the public campaign financing system each year.

Finally, we need to address redistricting reform.

We have some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country - this is not a distinction that we should be proud of.

Gerrymandering is a form of political gamesmanship that stifles real political debate and deprives citizens of meaningful choices. Fair and competitive elections - and having checks and balances - make for a more vibrant and responsive citizen republic.

To advance this discussion, I will execute an executive order that creates a bipartisan commission to examine Maryland’s redistricting process with the goal of fully reforming this process and giving this authority to an independent, bipartisan commission.

Though this is an ambitious agenda, I believe that these actions will begin to put Maryland on a new path, one that leads to a new era of opportunity, and prosperity for all our citizens.

Though our visions may differ, our goals are the same: a better, stronger, cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous Maryland. We can’t accomplish these goals alone. We need your help, your ideas, and your support.

And while I’m sure we will disagree on a few points in the coming weeks, I am prepared to create an environment of trust and cooperation, one in which the best ideas rise to the top based upon their merit, regardless of which side of the political debate they come from.

So let us commit ourselves to that goal: to live up to our potential, to work together to solve the big problems with cooperation and good faith, for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

Let us renew our sense of optimism, and make Maryland a place of unlimited promise. Together, let’s change Maryland for the better.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the great state of Maryland.