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Maryland at a Crossroads: Will We Choose Competitiveness?

Jan 22, 2024

Last week, Maryland's foremost business leaders and policymakers gathered to chart the course for the state's future, engaging in discussions about economic competitiveness, initiatives to strengthen the state's business community and strategies to attract and retain businesses in Maryland. Key topics, including transportation, artificial intelligence and workforce development, took center stage at this impactful event.

During the gathering, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2024 Competitiveness Redbook for Maryland. This comprehensive publication, analyzing over 50 metrics, provides insightful perspectives on the state's economic position compared to all other states in the nation. The data reveals areas of strength and concern for Maryland. Despite strengths in sectors like tech and manufacturing, our state lags in key indicators and faces challenges such as a declining population, stagnant job and economic growth, high business costs, elevated taxes and inadequate transportation and infrastructure — all posing threats to the state's future prosperity.

As Maryland Chamber President & CEO Mary Kane emphasized during the event, thriving businesses are essential for strong communities. Businesses serve as the fabric weaving our communities together, connecting people and turning ordinary places into destinations that generations call home. However, when a state loses its competitive edge, a chain reaction ensues — people and industries migrate, leaving behind vacant structures, declining communities, crumbling infrastructure and severe budgetary challenges. A thriving business community is not just a want; it is a need — and is the difference between a state that prevails and one that faces decline.

This legislative session brings opportunities for collaboration and progress to bolster our competitive position. With partnership and purpose, we can reinforce our state as a hub for business investment and growth.

The business community stands ready to contribute to solutions. However, progress requires active involvement from all stakeholders. If you believe in making Maryland stronger, join us and participate in these critical issues and initiatives.

Our heartfelt thanks extend to our speakers, moderators and panelists including:

  • Eric Luedtke, Chief Legislative Officer
  • Signe Pringle, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce
  • Hannah Allen, Government Affairs Associate, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
  • Transportation Panel Participants
    • Senator Bill Ferguson, Senate President for Maryland
    • Senator Stephen Hershey, Senate Minority Leader
    • Delegate Marc Korman, Chair of Environment and Transportation Committee
    • Jake Cashion, Vice President of Government Affairs with North Carolina Chamber of Commerce
    • Moderated by Patricia Swanson, Government Affairs Director, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.
  • Artificial Intelligence Panel Participants
    • Josh Jackson, Founding Board Member of the AI Association
    • Nishant Shah, Senior Advisor for Responsible AI, State of Maryland
    • Moderated by Allison Taylor, Director of Government Relations, Kaiser Permanente.
  • Labor and Workforce Development Panel Participants
    • Brian Cavey, Chairman of Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council
    • Dr. Marquita Davis, Chief Academic Officer of KinderCare Learning Companies
    • Walter Simmons, President and CEO of Employ Prince George’s
    • Moderated by Erin Appel, Vice President of External Affairs, UnitedHealthcare.

A special thanks to those who attended the event and the valued members of the business community who were present, all of whom contribute significantly to the formulation of Maryland's economic future.

Meet the State 2024 was made possible by our generous supporters, including presenting sponsor Amazon; Platinum Sponsors CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare; Reception Sponsor Giant; Gold Sponsor Wes Banco; Silver Sponsors Employ Prince George’s, Maryland Realtors and United Bank; as well as Supporting Sponsors Maryland Farm Bureau and Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce. We thank them immensely for their support!