Hogan lays out five-point economic agenda for Senate race that echoes positions as Md. governor

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Republican U.S. Senate nominee Larry Hogan vowed to take his anti-tax, pro-business approach as governor to the Senate, during a campaign stop Wednesday near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Hogan promoted a five-point platform — some of which mimics his policies as governor — including lowering taxes on retirees, increasing access to affordable housing, reducing health care costs and opposing policies that would increase the costs of food, energy, and basic necessities.

“We will deliver tax relief for working families, seniors and small businesses,” Hogan said. “We will accelerate housing construction and support middle class housing. We will inject greater transparency and competition into the health care marketplace. We will advance tax credits, education sponsorship accounts and greater flexibility for 529 (college savings) accounts. And we will continue to stand against excessive taxes, spending and overregulation at the county, state and federal level, which drives higher prices and kills small businesses and jobs.”

Hogan frequently touched on the tenets of his two terms in office and issued sharp criticisms of both Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, the Democratic Party nominee for Maryland’s U.S. Senate seat.

He also rebuked Democrats, who hold a super-majority in Annapolis, for coming increases in vehicle registration fees, targeted taxes totaling roughly $2.1 billion over five years.

“The last thing that Marylanders need right now is tax hikes,” Hogan said, referencing a list of fees and taxes

“They will affect almost everyone. No one will be left behind,” Hogan said, repurposing a phrase used frequently by Moore. “They will be felt all across the state.”

Hogan reached back to highlight his efforts to reduce state fees and tolls — an announcement he made on the west side of the Bay Bridge — and his opposition to tax increases.

“I think the people in Maryland know my record. And it’s pretty clear,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers have long criticized Hogan’s reduction of tolls as detrimental to maintaining the facilities operated and maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Moore, speaking Monday to local officials attending the Maryland Municipal League summer conference in Ocean City, noted the growth of state budgets under Hogan in the final years of his tenure.

“But as our budget grew, you know what wasn’t growing? Our economy,” Moore said Monday.

“I would say Wes Moore doesn’t know much about our administration,” Hogan said when asked about Moore’s comments. “I think he was in New York making millions on Wall Street while I was governor. But I left the office with a 77% job approval from the people of Maryland. And that’s all that matters to me.

“I don’t really care what Wes Moore thinks. I can tell you, anyone who compares our fiscal record to his record is going to think that things are way off track,” he said.

Hogan also noted a recent bond rating that placed the state’s credit-worthiness on a negative outlook.

“And now just recently, we’ve been downgraded by the rating agencies, and we’re on track to lose our triple-A bond rating for the state and for Prince George’s County,” Hogan said.

That state’s credit rating was not downgraded. Maryland is one of a handful of states that continues to hold the highest bond rating from all three major rating agencies.

But Moody’s, in its report this spring, cited a number of concerns and issued a negative outlook on the state’s financial stability, even as it reaffirmed the triple-A rating. Neither of the remaining two rating agencies issued a negative outlook.

Similarly, Hogan criticized Alsobrooks for both her governance of the county and her support for what he described as a tax increase.

Alsobrooks supports raising the cap on Social Security taxes. Currently, the tax, which is linked to inflation, is capped at an individual’s first $168,600. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) has proposed increasing the cap to the first $400,000 of income.

“If Larry Hogan objects to making changes to the payroll cap on Social Security, he is arguing that he does not see a need for every American to pay their fair share into Social Security,” said Gina Ford, a spokesperson for the Alsobrooks campaign. “Angela, of course, disagrees with him. She has made it clear that this race is about the future. And she refuses to pass on an endangered Social Security system to the next generation.”

“When it comes to taxes, on this campaign Angela has made clear that she opposes the Trump tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and massive corporations,” Ford said.

At times, the event felt as if Hogan were running a third campaign for chief executive of the state. He sidestepped questions about the possibility of challenging Moore in 2028.

“Well, you know, we’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it,” said Hogan. “Right now. I’m focused on being elected senator. That’s my whole focus.”

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