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September 13, 2013

Why Is Rick Perry Targeting Maryland, My Maryland?

Joe Charlebois

The Texas Economic Development Division – which is within the Office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) – is running both radio and TV ads in the Baltimore and Washington marketplaces in an attempt to woo business away from the “Free State” to the “Lone Star State.”


It is unlikely that these ads will create a great exodus, but it does point out that of the seven states Texas is targeting Maryland is right in the mix.


What does Rick Perry possibly see as a reason that Maryland businesses would consider relocating to the State of Texas? After all, Maryland is unmatched throughout the country in many ways. From its eastern border on the Atlantic Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay and then to the Appalachian Mountains at its western borders, Maryland is America in miniature.


Maryland has one of the most educated workforces in the nation. It can boast of having some of the country’s highest ranking public school systems. It is rich in historical value. Along with our nation’s capital, Maryland is home to numerous nationally recognized cultural events and venues. Even with its small size, Maryland is home to one Major League baseball team and two National Football League teams.


Governor Perry’s campaign is not new. Previously businesses within the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, and New York have been the recipient of overtures by the Texas Economic Development team.


The governor has spent nearly $500,000 on advertising campaigns in these seven states. These states are in his sights because he realizes that there is growing disparity between a state like Texas and those states that are riddled with excess regulations and taxes.


Last week, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) met with 100 of Maryland’s corporate leaders in a forum sponsored by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Governor O’Malley’s largest concerns seemed to be raising the minimum wage and closing the income gap. He was opposed to a corporate tax rate reduction that proponents on both sides of the aisle are looking for to maintain and encourage a renewed corporate climate. He stated that a cut in the corporate tax rate would be moving “backwards.” This even as the Greater Baltimore Committee – a business group – expressed that its biggest concern was reforming the tax code as it is a detriment to the business climate in Maryland.


In contrast to Maryland’s corporate climate is Texas. Texas is home to 52 Fortune 500 companies. That ranks Texas just behind California (54) and tied with New York, which also has 52 companies. Maryland even with all of business that is done within the Capital Region, lists only four Fortune 500 companies among its corporate residents. Capital Region neighbor Virginia with similar geographical attributes to Maryland is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. Like Maryland, Virginia can count on only one Defense Department contractor among its fraternity. To be fair, in comparison, Virginia is a state with a larger population than Maryland. Virginia has nearly 8.2 million residents to Maryland’s 5.8 million.


Texas is aware that like California – which has been losing corporations at an ever increasing pace, over 250 businesses left California in 2011 – Maryland and its continued increases in regulations and taxation will eventually lead to an exodus of corporations. Virginia has seen the attitude toward business emanating from Annapolis and has been successful in their attempts to lure businesses across the Potomac.


Statistical analysis shows why Virginia and Texas are coming to Maryland. According to the 2013 “Freedom State by State” analysis by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, Maryland ranks 49th in personal freedom, 44th in regulatory freedom and 26th in fiscal freedom among the 50 states.


Maryland is a great state for many reasons, but corporations and those with means are indeed making plans or have moved on to other states such as Virginia, and West Virginia where regulation and taxation are much more reasonable.


With these radio and television ads, Governor Perry of Texas is just making sure that if corporations are looking, they don’t limit their options to Maryland’s most immediate neighbors.


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