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The recent Times editorial regarding Gov. Hogan's regulatory reform agenda raised several interesting and timely points. Maryland's high tax reputation has made our state unattractive in the past to businesses, seniors and families. Our county has suffered from this issue acutely, reflected in our declining school enrollments. Gov. Hogan and his efforts to reform state government have touched a nerve with Marylanders frustrated with an unresponsive and sometimes hostile state government apparatus.

Gov. Hogan has kept his campaign promise to work tirelessly to make Maryland government more business and family-friendly. Shortly after his inauguration he announced the formation of a commission to look into Maryland government's inefficiencies and sometimes negative culture. The Regulatory Reform Commission is finding ways to "streamline Maryland's regulatory climate and raise standards for customer service." So far, a major focus has been on overlapping regulations and changing enforcement agency perspectives to one of collaboration with businesses rather than a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset.

I've been working in the General Assembly to streamline and improve efficiency in state government with a focus in the area of state contracting and procurement. Following the 2015 legislative session, I was asked to chair the One Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission, which is undergoing a top-to-bottom review of the state's procurement process. This commission is in line with Hogan's and my goal to make Maryland "Open for Business" again. Many of the dollars our state spends in procurement for products and services go to out-of-state companies because of rigid and, in my view, outdated laws and regulations. We're looking at ways to make it easier for Maryland businesses to bid on state contracts and participate in providing goods and services to state government. It will be much better for our economy to spend our tax dollars in our own backyard and give the state government more bidders – more competition – which leads to better value for the usage of taxpayers' money.

We are headed in the right direction. I want to continue making Maryland more fiscally sound and friendly. We will continue to work on the culture of our state agencies, reduce overspending, and streamline processes and procedures. I'm grateful for Gov. Hogan's leadership during his first year in office and am glad to be working hand in hand on the key issues of regulatory reform and a customer service mindset in state government. I feel blessed to represent Carroll County in the Senate and look forward to the 2016 session, which begins Jan. 13.