State agencies will begin a 60-day review of business regulations with an eye toward creating and retaining jobs in the state, Gov. Martin O'Malley said Monday.
O'Malley announced his executive order just prior to the opening of a special session in which legislators will take up the issue of redrawing the state's eight congressional districts. The legislature will not take up a jobs bill or other related efforts between now and Wednesday when the the House and Senate are expected to recess.
"The intent is to bring a package of things to the General Assembly" in January, O'Malley said.
Part of that package is likely to include increased spending on capital budget items with a focus on transportation and school construction projects.
"We suffer in this nation from an investment deficit," O'Malley said, highlighting a backlog of transportation projects and $6 billion in school construction needs.
"There's no easy button," O'Malley said. "There's no quick fix to any of these things."
The state is close to its borrowing limit this year, but O'Malley said that limit is dependent on "the revenue we set."
When asked if that meant he supported the idea of raising revenues, possibly in the form of an increased gas tax, O'Malley said: "Yes."
Legislators will hear about a proposal from a blue ribbon commission that would phase in a 15-cent increase in the gas tax.
Turning his attention to the reason behind the special session that began Monday, O'Malley said he believes the congressional redistricting maps he has proposed are fair and legal.