The effects of the 2008 recession still linger in Maryland, even after two years of the business-friendly Gov. Hogan. Where are the jobs? The services? Jerome Dancis has a few ideas about this.
/By Jerome Dancis / To end the economic mini-depression for the 99% -- which most of us continue to experience -- Maryland's economy needs an economic stimulus plan (No need to worry about the 1%, who are doing extremely well, see below).
A serious stimulus plan could reduce poverty and make job hunting easier. In order to bring jobs as well as state, county and school services back up to (and ideally, past) the 2006 levels under Republican governor Ehrlich, we need to think beyond limited goals. Relatedly, see "What the [National] Stimulus Accomplished", the New York Times lead editorial, Feb. 22, 2014
Nationally, jobs in the private sector are back to 2007 (pre-economic minidepression) level. It is state and local government jobs in Maryland and many other states that are below the pre-mini-depression level.
What would be some of the components of a serious stimulus plan for Maryland?
n Expand public transportation. Reduce gridlock on highways. Add a second 100 miles to DC area and Baltimore local train tracks and integrate them with MARC trains. The Purple Line should go from Annapolis to Tysons Corner, where it would connect with the Silver Line to Dulles Airport.
n Prepare Maryland to withstand major hurricanes successfully -- a Sandy-type hurricane coming up the Chesapeake next year is possible.
n Raise state, county and school jobs and services back up to the 2006 levels under Ehrlich and reduce tuition at all public Maryland colleges to the 1980 level. (Maybe 1/3 of today.)
How do we pay for all this? Raise taxes on the economically thriving 1%; reduce and remove state subsidies and tax loopholes for corporations. Maryland is #1 in the nation in millionaires, (proportionally). Economic inequality is growing in Maryland, as the Economic Policy Institute has shown.
As Senator Paul G. Pinsky wrote: "Maryland has long been considered among the bluest of blue states, firmly in the Democratic camp. Its recent progressive record on social justice has only further burnished that reputation: … .
"When it comes to corporate tax justice, however, Maryland has seen only red. ...
"These large businesses have avoided paying any — yes, that's zero — state corporate taxes in recent years." (Read more: Baltimore Sun, Feb. 11, 2014).
But, this is just one example: "Progressive Maryland was busy all last week [Feb. 3-7, 2014] in Annapolis fighting corporate special interests vying for tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. [Including] two bills to reduce the corporate tax rate, a bill to decimate our inheritance tax, …
Every $100 million of tax cuts for the rich, tax loopholes and state subsidies for corporations is $100 million not available for state programs for the 99%.
"In Annapolis, offering more sugar to sugar daddies: Minimum-wage workers need help, not Maryland's many millionaires" by Dan Rodricks in Balt. Sun 2/01/14
I’m told Maryland has a law limiting the number of state employees in various agencies. BOO! What does an agency do when it has a shortage of workers? Hire contractors. Good for the contracting businesses; likely bad for employees, who do not get benefits or job security; bad for the state, which likely pays more for workers, who have no loyalty to the state. Repealing this law would cut out the middle men (the contracting companies) and this would provide the state with savings to hire more workers and create new jobs.
Jerome Dancis lives in Greenbelt. “Originally written in 2014, [this essay is] unfortunately still relevant.”