For the past five years, I’ve worked as an investor at Kapor Capital, helping startups turn into established businesses and mentoring entrepreneurs. So, I know how hard it can be for a small business to compete in Maryland, and I know how that can spread to lagging wage growth for working folks across our state. That’s why I’m releasing this plan, to help us compete regionally and nationally, to help our small businesses feel like state government is a partner to them, and to foster an environment that attracts and sustains entrepreneurship. Read my full plan, Innovation Maryland for a comprehensive look at what I’ll do as governor.
We’ve seen what a lack of bold leadership on the economy has lead to. Under Larry Hogan, Maryland lost 5,500 jobs in June, including 1,500 private sector jobs. Over the past year, Maryland has been dead last in the region for job growth while the nation created jobs eight times faster, and Virginia twice as fast as our state. Maryland is also well behind Virginia in manufacturing job growth. During Hogan’s time as governor, the average Virginian has taken home more than $8,000 in inflation-adjusted earnings growth, for the average American, it’s more than $5,000 and for the average Delawarean more than $16,000. Yet the average Marylander has seen their earnings increase by less than $450 losing out on thousands of dollars that could have gone toward child care, health care, mortgage payments, a college degree, or to help launch a new business off a great idea. Additionally, Hogan is the first Maryland governor to lose a Fortune 500 company in decades.
We have to reverse these trends that harm working people statewide. As governor, I will:
- Level the Playing Field for Maryland Small Businesses and Ensure Tax Fairness by Lowering the State Sales Tax
- As governor, I will lower the Maryland sales tax to 5.75%, which will make Maryland competitive with our regional partners as well as providing tax relief to millions of working families. Comptroller Peter Franchot’s emergency regulatory action collecting sales taxes from out of state online retailers and my plan to close the carried interest loophole that hedge fund managers use to avoid paying taxes they owe on investment income will pay for this tax reduction on small businesses and working people.
- Create a Small Business Bill of Rights
- As governor, I will create a Small Business Bill of Rights to codify protections and recourse for small businesses against unscrupulous behavior. This will attract entrepreneurs to our state who know they can count on an administration and a business-friendly environment to stand up for their ideas and promise.
- Create a Governor’s Office of Tech Transfer
- As governor, I will create a governor’s Office of Tech Transfer which will focus state strategy and resources behind the goal of drawing on Maryland’s robust research communities to attract and retain related startups. This office will be charged with coordinating Maryland’s higher education community, venture capital and banking community, and economic development community in state and local government.
- Increase Transparency and Equality of Access in State Procurement
- As governor, I will ensure that all state bids and procurement opportunities are posted publicly online and that we are effectively communicating such opportunities through our small business communities.
- Boost Investment in Maryland Startups through TEDCO
- As governor, I will increase TEDCO’s funding and resources so it can invest in more companies and assist more startups and entrepreneurs in growing into the thriving businesses that power Maryland’s economy. This will be funded by shifting priorities away from huge taxpayer-funded giveaways to the biggest corporations and instead toward an emphasis on investing resources in TEDCO.
- Make Maryland the Top State in the County for Clean Energy Technology and Jobs
- As governor, I will strengthen Maryland’s Residential and Commercial Clean Energy Grant Programs so that Maryland residents and businesses are incentivized to adopt clean energy technology, creating savings for working families and entrepreneurs. I will also study creating a program to help defray the costs of installation. Furthermore, I will create a Clean Energy Workforce Development Program to ensure that Marylanders from communities all across the state have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to fill these good jobs.
- Conduct a Comprehensive Review of Existing Tax Credits and Incentive Programs to Ensure they are Supporting an Entrepreneurially-Focused Approach to Economic Development
- Maryland has a wide range of existing tax credits, grant programs, and corporate incentives with the stated goal of boosting businesses and growing our economy. Many of these have not had much success in stimulating growth, so as governor, I will conduct a comprehensive review of current programs to identify which strategies work best to help entrepreneurs grow while creating jobs and raising wages for working families.