BUILDING BLOCKS

The success of Maryland’s economy depends on its people. As an educator, John understands that Maryland’s ability to have a first-class workforce is held back when families can’t afford to feed and clothe their kids, when they are threatened by eviction, or when they fall into ill health because they can’t afford health care. The King-Siri economic platform will put people first.

A King-Siri Administration will:

  • Boost wages in Maryland by
    • Accelerating increases in the state minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023, instead of the current 2025 target, and then indexing it to inflation so that it keeps pace with the rising cost of living;
    • Increasing the “tipped minimum wage” so that service-sector workers can have the same opportunities to make a living wage as other workers; and
    • Using the state’s regulatory authorities to address job discrimination and ensure that jobs held predominantly by women and people of color pay as much as other similar jobs. 
    • Using state purchasing and regulatory power to enact higher wages in sectors like home health aides and early childhood with predominantly female workforces; Maryland can use both its regulatory authority and its contracting power to boost wages for workers in these fields.
    • Fixing our broken unemployment system, that has suffered serious backlogs in the pandemic.
  • Help families address the rising cost of living by
    • Enacting a universal child tax credit, modeled on the Biden Administration’s successful program that slashed child poverty and helped families make ends meet. 
    • Making sure every Maryland family gets the federal food assistance benefits that they’re eligible for.
    • Adopting a new approach to housing policy – from a statewide zoning law making it easier to build multi-family housing near public transit hubs to substantial investment in the state’s housing trust fund – that will ensure every Marylander has a safe and affordable place to live.
    • Keeping high-quality child care affordable so that no Marylander has to pay more than 7 percent of their income to ensure their kids are safe while they’re at work.
    • Knocking down barriers to affordable health care for everyone and dramatically expanding behavioral health care.
    • Strengthening state-run programs that provide financial assistance to families in need, including Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and unemployment insurance. 
    • Ensuring nutritional access for all, especially low-income communities. A King-Siri Administration will set aside state-level pilot funding so that local jurisdictions can address “food deserts” through directly creating their own grocery stores or providing financing to grocery coops, farmers markets, and similar programs. Over 700,000 people in Maryland relied on SNAP in FY2020, they deserve access to healthy, fresh foods. Working with lawmakers, they will increase SNAP benefits and they will pursue other innovative opportunities to expand nutritional access, including SNAP pilots that catalyze farmers’ markets in schools and increase returns on shopping at farmers’ markets. We will make SNAP available to all Marylanders, regardless of citizenship status.
  • Make sure workers can get to their jobs by – 
    • Investing in a world-class transportation system, with a particular focus on projects that connect underserved communities to where the jobs are, such as Baltimore’s Red Line, the Maryland suburbs’ Purple Line, the Southern Maryland Light Rail Project, and expansion of the MARC. The overhaul of Baltimore bus routes the Hogan administration implemented instead of building the Red Line worsened transit deserts and made it harder for people to get to work.
    • Investing in transit-oriented development with walkable communities that center pedestrian safety. 
    • Enhancements to passenger rail service within Maryland. Connecting Maryland’s cities and neighborhoods is an important part of economic development. This is especially true as the rise of remote work has incentivized relocation to more rural areas. Maryland has large swaths of transit desert across the state where demand for transit is higher than supply.
    • Radically improving bus frequency and reliability throughout the state (including dedicated bus lanes and transit-friendly street design).
    • Work with the Maryland Department of Transportation to prioritize enhancements to the MARC train, including expanding access between Baltimore and Washington DC and routes to new cities in Western Maryland.
    • Securing funding to begin building a light rail line connecting Southern Maryland to the DC metro.