Commentary: Maryland’s Economic Competitiveness is at Stake — Time for Action
Jul 11, 2023
As business owners, leaders and community members, you know that businesses are the backbone of our economy. From small enterprises to large corporations, businesses provide the jobs our residents depend upon, enhance our quality of life, and support vital needs like roads, schools, and essential public services. What’s more, business support our communities through donations and volunteer hours dedicated to nonprofits, grant and scholarship programs, and contributions to the vibrancy and culture of our state.
However, businesses in Maryland are facing significant challenges – workforce shortages, population shifts, rising costs, increased crime rates, high taxes, and burdensome regulations are making it increasingly difficult for businesses to remain, thrive and grow in our state.
When businesses face challenges, the implications are far reaching, and go far beyond boardrooms and profit margins. Job losses, financial hardships, strained economies, weakened essential services, and reduced investments in people and communities are just some of the consequences.
Conversely, when businesses are thriving, our residents and communities thrive alongside them, benefiting from job growth, reduced unemployment rates, increased consumer spending, community investments and improvements, a better quality of life, and strong, vibrant communities where businesses and people want to be.
Recent data clearly indicates that Maryland’s economic competitiveness is at a critical juncture.
- There is an alarming trend of population migration to the Southeast, with over 2.2 million people moving to the Southeast in just over two years – and businesses are following. In addition, for the first time, six fast-growing states in the South are contributing more to the national GDP than the Northeast in figures going back to the 1990s.
- Insights from competitiveness data demonstrate that our state is struggling with issues including high rates of taxation, burdensome economic, fiscal and regulatory policies, high energy costs, significant transportation and education challenges, and more.
- And, most recently, CNBC Top States for Business ranked Maryland 47th for the cost of doing business; Alaska, Massachusetts and Hawaii are the only states ranked lower in this area.
Let’s pay attention to what the data – and our very own businesses – are telling us: We must collaborate for positive change, seizing this opportunity to shape an environment that attracts business, spurs job creation, fosters innovation, empowers entrepreneurship and helps businesses and their communities thrive.
We must act now, setting aside partisanship and working together to boost businesses and build a strong economy. Together, we can ensure that Maryland’s businesses, residents, and communities do not get left behind.
Join us in making Maryland better for business:
Mary D. Kane
President & CEO
Maryland Chamber of Commerce