What will it take to make Maryland the most competitive and business-friendly state in the nation?
The state’s top business voice say it all starts with a united, coordinated effort from Maryland’s businesses.
The state’s top fiscal watchdog says it will take a whole lot more than that.
That was the point-counterpoint at play during the MACPA’s Business and Industry Conference, where Maryland Chamber of Commerce CEO Kathy Snyder and state Comptroller Peter Franchot offered their ideas for bolstering Maryland’s business and fiscal environments.
When it comes to business in Maryland, Snyder and Franchot are allies who generally see eye to eye. That much was clear at the conference, where each eagerly backed the others’ ideas.
Still, some differences surfaced — not of ideology, mind you, but of priorities.
Snyder led things off by outlining the work of the Maryland Competitiveness Coalition, a team of more than 50 Maryland business groups (including the MACPA) that is exploring ways “to expand the tax base, attract new companies, and improve the state’s competitiveness in private-sector job creation and business investment.”
Snyder said Maryland businesses face some daunting challenges. When viewed through the lens of a financial report, she said the state’s finances are “scary” and “eye-opening.” Maryland’s reliance on federal funding is a nightmare waiting to happen. And advances in technology may render many local jobs obsolete within the next decade.
Those challenges, though, are balanced by some exciting opportunities:
“We need the business community to unite and say, ‘Maryland is a great place to do business,’” Snyder said. The Coalition is a first step toward that end.
While praising the Coalition’s efforts, Franchot said more needs to be done. Maryland’s greatest challenges are financial in nature, and Franchot said the top priority should be solutions that center on “fiscal responsibility with a purpose.”
“If Maryland’s CPA’s become politically active, they can have a huge impact on the state’s fiscal responsibility,” Franchot said.
“It’s time to stop thinking of political activism as talking to politicians and start looking at it as a business proposition,” she said.
Which leads to Tom Hood’s favorite political quote: “If you don’t want to be involved politically, be prepared for the consequences of those who are.”
Here’s the point: No one group holds the key to Maryland’s competitiveness. We all do. We need the ideology of the business community, the activism of individuals, the expertise of CPAs, and their willingness to teach lawmakers.
It takes a village to save our state. Will you do your part?
While you’re thinking, find out more about the Maryland Competitiveness Coalition here.
Want to help?Here are a few easy ways to get started: