NFIB/MD on Gov Debate: Candidates Don’t Seem to Appreciate State’s Econ Problems

Date: May 07, 2014

Annapolis (May 7, 2014) – Three candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor met this evening for what should have been a conversation heavy on economics and in the end there was really no highlights for small business owners, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)


“Maryland is ranked poorly as a place to do business and small business is the key to our prosperity,” said Jessica Cooper, NFIB State Director.  “The candidates this evening spent almost as much time debating the name of the Redskins as they did the economy and we think that’s disappointing.”


The candidates were asked early on about their plans to make Maryland more competitive.  Lt. Governor Brown said he’d create a special commission to study regulations and taxes.  Attorney General Gansler suggested targeted tax cuts for favored companies, like high tech firms.  And Heather Mizeur proposed resurrecting the millionaire’s tax to give a tax cut to small businesses.


“The Gallup organization released a survey last week showing that almost half of Marylanders would leave if they could and a plurality of those people are looking for better economic opportunities,” said Cooper.  “Based on what we heard this evening, none of the candidates appear to appreciate the depth of our problem.”


Cooper noted that the minimum wage increase, which boosted labor costs for small employers by 37 percent, will dampen the demand for workers on the bottom rungs of the ladder.  Those are exactly the people whom the candidates would claim to care about and yet all of them supported the increase. 


Also, said Cooper, none of the candidates presented tax reform plans that would move the needle in Maryland.


“We heard some talk of corporate tax cuts and targeted tax cuts for high-tech firms, and with all due respect I think they miss the mark,” she said.  “Most small businesses pay income taxes, not corporate taxes, and most aren’t in the high-tech sector.  We need broad tax reform to create more opportunities for people to start their own businesses and create more jobs.”


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