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November 12, 2013

Maryland Continues to Lead the Nation in Genuine Progress Tracking

by Martha
Governor O'Malley meets with GPI representatives first-ever national GPI summit in Annapolis

Governor O’Malley at the first-ever national GPI summit in Annapolis

2012 data shows 4.5 percent improvement over 2011

Maryland’s Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) has been updated to include 2012 data, which shows the State’s traditional economic measures and GPI ― a measure of statewide well-being – both enjoyed considerable improvements.    

According to the data, in 2012 Maryland’s GPI increased 4.5 percent from 2011, representing the largest single year increase since 2005. Over the same period, Maryland’s Gross State Product, a more traditional measure of strictly economic activity, increased 2.2 percent ― the largest single-year increase in this measurement since 2009. Both outcomes are corrected to “year 2000″ dollars to make trends over time comparable.  

“These results are further evidence that we are making strides towards a smarter, greener, more sustainable Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Through our GPI tool, we are able to take a comprehensive look at our economy, natural resources and communities to better understand the true costs and benefits of our everyday decisions.  By leveraging these results, we can determine where we need to focus our efforts and direct new policies to strike a balance between advancing economic gain and ensuring social well-being.”

Under Governor O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland was the first state to calculate and publish its Genuine Progress Indicator in February 2010. The following year, Vermont passed legislation requiring the development and use of its GPI in policy and budget decisions. 

In October, 2012, Governor O’Malley hosted the first-ever national GPI summit in Annapolis where representatives from New York, Oregon, Utah and Vermont met with Maryland officials to discuss the use and application of such tools.  This past June, the Governor hosted the second GPI summit in Baltimore, which was attended by delegates from more than 20 states.  Further demonstrating national GPI momentum: at least three other states are currently completing GPI studies, targeted for release by the end of 2013.

“We are delighted that other states are joining us in calculating their genuine progress and excited that we can now compare and improve upon our achievements,” said Sean McGuire, GPI project leader for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The GPI is an innovative gauge that allows policymakers and citizens to more accurately measure the State’s standard of living by including indicators of social and environmental health, along with traditional economic calculations.  Developed by experts from several State agencies, the Governor’s Office and the University of Maryland, the GPI is designed to complement – but not replace – traditional economic measurements, such as the Gross State Product.

The tool incorporates 26 factors in three categories – economic, social and environmental – from the cost of crime to the costs of climate change to the value of volunteerism. Costs and values used in calculating the GPI are based on academically reviewed studies.  These numbers are not presented as the ultimate value to society, but rather as a standard against which to measure yearly changes.  Maryland presents the GPI as an educational tool designed to allow the public and policymakers to better balance the true costs and benefits of resource decisions.

The GPI joins a host of innovative interactive tools ― such as GreenPrint, BayStat and the Maryland Green Registry ― that have been developed for Maryland citizens under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative. The GPI ― along with a helpful new video that explains the indicator ― is available at the State’s Smart, Green & Growing website, green.maryland.gov/mdgpi.

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