Recently, I wrote about the money in Maryland’s Gubernatorial primary in which I said, “this post will look into where each gubernatorial candidate (GOP & Dem), as noted by the MD State Board of Elections, gets their money which is relevant to the overall election. Each reader can make their own conclusions based on the campaign contributions of each candidate.” I got pretty piss poor response from a posting of the blogpost on reddit (by which I mean that there wasn’t comments from a lot of users). An exchange between one user (bondbird) and another (intlnews) is interesting to understanding some reactions to what I wrote about:
Bondbird: Great link, and very informative. Thanks for posting this.
Intlnews: Any time. It would be great if the candidates would put that on their websites…but that would never happen.
Bondbird: From your article I can tell you that I automatically ruled out two candidates, and moved one way up on my list for voting.
Intlnews: Which two ones?
Bondbird: I would never vote for a minister, progressive or not, as I believe in separation of church and state. So, Coates was never in the running. I am very uncomfortable with the liquor board and Bank of America money for Gansler, so he’s a no. Mizeur is awfully heavy in big medicine money so she goes to a no for me. Which way are you leaning?
Intlnews: Hmmm…I’m not really sure. I think that Gansler and Brown are leaning toward business but Mizeur seems to be a bit too… I’m a registered independent anyway, so I wouldn’t even be voting in the primary…
This article aims to look at what the business community thinks of the candidates running for Governor, looking at articles from the main business papers like Maryland Reporter  and the Baltimore Business Journal, The Daily Record, and business groups like the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. After all, as noted by the Baltimore Business Journal, “bolstering Maryland’s business community is going to be a front-burner issue in the 2014 governor’s race” and as Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee said, “Democratic and Republican candidates for governor in the June 24 primary elections are passionately communicating their commitments to improving Maryland’s business climate, creating jobs and strengthening our state’s competitiveness for economic growth.” This is also relevant because the money would point to: Anthony Brown supporting industries such as Real Estate, Lawyers/Law Firms, Securities & Investment, & Health Professionals; Doug Gansler supporting the liquor lobby and the interests of companies like Microsoft and Bank of America; Heather Mizeur supporting the interests of big medicine, the computers/internet industry, and so on; David Craig supporting the real estate industry and big business in general; Ron George, an ALEC member, supporting the interests of commercial banks, business associations, and so on; Charles Lollar supporting business services and real estate industries along with health professionals; and Larry Hogan supporting law firms, private equity firms, investment companies as I noted in a previous article. As the Washington Post said after a Democratic debate in May: “All three candidates agreed that the state could do more to improve its business climate.” Still, this article is important and gives some sampling of what the business community thinks.
THE DEMOCRATS [TOP CONTENDERS]
Gary Haber, Staff Reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal on Mizeur’s push for combined reporting for MD-based corps which means they would have to pay tax on their out of state entities as well:
“A change to Maryland tax law that would bring in more revenue but increase costs and complexity for Maryland companies.”
Gary Haber, Staff Reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal on Mizeur’s push for easing small business taxes:
House Bill 1158 would create a rebate for small businesses to reduce the personal property tax they pay on their machinery, equipment, inventory and other personal property. Under combined reporting, a company headquartered in Maryland would have to pay the state’s 8.25 percent corporate income tax on revenues earned by out-of-state subsidiaries.
Barry Rascovar, writing for Maryland Reporter and on behalf of the publication (“here’s where we stand on the all-important Democratic side”) who seems to go a bit over the top:
“The third candidate, Mizeur, continues to promote a far-left agenda that appeals to segments of Maryland’s liberal Democratic Party. Her polite, demure attitude, a well-delivered summary of her goals and her refusal to join Brown and Gansler in tit-for-tat criticisms helped her immensely in these debates…Of the three [Democrats running for Governor, she is the most hostile to businesses and the wealthy. She has excoriated shale-oil fracking, millionaires, chicken farmers, a natural gas export plant in Southern Maryland and any thought of a tax cut for corporations or a reduced estate tax. She’s in favor of legalized marijuana, universal pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds and three-year-olds, state subsidized child care, a living wage of $16.70 an hour, tax cuts for the middle class, tax breaks for small businesses, an end to income inequality and campaign finance reform. How she pays for her proposals is an exercise in hype and gross exaggeration.”
In a conversation on Maryland Reporter, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of the website says that during the debate,
Del. Heather Mizeur also stood unwaveringly by her progressive agenda: marijuana legalization, with the revenue to be funneled to expansion of pre-kindergarten education; expanded health care with an emphasis on catering to minorities. But with only mild bickering between Gansler and Brown, her position as the positive, grassroots Hail Mary was weakened. She presented herself well enough and executed her explanation of the important issues warmly and directly, but perhaps not enough to convince the swath of yet undecided voters composing the audience.
Barry Rascovar of Maryland Reporter (once again a bit over the top with the ‘far left’ claim):
Montgomery County Del. Heather Mizeur leads the pack as far as spending on feel-good projects with money the state doesn’t have. That’s not surprising, since Mizeur is on the far left of the Democratic spectrum…She does want to soak the rich — a millionaire’s tax and combined reporting for multi-state corporations. Neither is a giant money-raiser, and combined reporting turns into a money-loser during recessionary times…She also proposes a tax break for small businesses, a vast expansion of the state’s existing $250 million a year school construction program — without listing a funding source — more money spent on job training and massive new transportation projects…Once again, Mizeur identified herself as an issues candidate who isn’t serious about getting elected. The vast majority of voters have never heard of her running mate…It’s a sign of desperation or a sign Mizeur is running as the gay-rights, super-liberal who simply wants to send a message.
In a post by the Greater Baltimore Committee (represents big Baltimore businesses), they said that “Democratic candidate Delegate Heather Mizeur’s call to increase taxes on large corporations and high earners and use the new revenue for tax relief to middle-income families and small business employers” was a “business-climate strategy.”
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Mizeur’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
Mizeur proposes increasing taxes on high-income earners and closing corporate tax “loopholes” to pay for tax relief to middle-class families. She would raise the state’s top income tax rate to 6.5 percent – from 5.75 percent currently – and reduce tax rates for most families earning less than $150,000. She proposes streamlining the regulatory system, increasing job training funding, providing property tax subsidies to small businesses, enacting a “living wage” of $16.70, commercializing academic research and funding infrastructure priorities.
Byran B. Sears of The Daily Record:
Marylanders would have to smoke a lot of pot in order to pay for full implementation of a preschool education plan proposed by Del. Heather Mizeur. But the plan proposed by the Democratic candidate for governor would face a (dare we say it) chronic shortfall beginning in the fourth year. Under Mizeur’s legalization proposal, adults 21 or older could purchase up to one ounce per day and would be able to smoke it at home. Public use would remain illegal, as would driving under the influence of the drug.
Editorial board of the Washington Post:
“Mizeur…will…inspire panic attacks in the business community…Ms. Mizeur’s ambitious programs would abandon whatever remains of restraint in Maryland’s approach to spending.”
According to technical.ly, a site which seems to often side with the technology sector, they noted that Mizeur
“said tackling the income inequality gap in Maryland is central to any economic development in the state. For starters, she wants universal pre-kindergarten education for children under 5 years old. She also said she wants to increase the minimum wage to a “living wage.” She’s interested in pushing tax relief for small businesses through a rebate tax on equipment, and would ask corporations “to pay their fair share” so small businesses can be taxed less. As for Maryland’s corporate income tax rate of 8.25 percent, Mizeur noted it’s the second-lowest in the region.”
As noted by SOMD News:
“Mizeur laid out a 10-point plan for improving the state’s business climate, which includes tax cuts for 90 percent of Marylanders and small businesses paid for by the reinstitution of the state’s tax on the highest incomes and the closing of corporate tax loopholes. She also said the state could raise $175 million by legalizing and taxing marijuana.”
Citizens Oversight Maryland (I think connected to Cindy Walsh’s campaign) says that Mizeur is not a progressive:
“…she is putting forward the idea of caution when everything behind the scenes moves global corporations exporting natural gas and Maryland is right in the middle of it. In fact, Johns Hopkins is heavily invested in natural gas and is the driver of all that is consolidation of the energy industry in Maryland…If you look at media headlines you would think O’Malley and Mizeur were fighting fracking when indeed, both are aligned to move it forward…You know if Mizeur is praising O’Malley for his work in fighting fracking all the while he is leading the way on the Governors Association—–IT IS ALL PROPAGANDA… As with all utilities in Maryland that are privatized as with this wind farm project, it immediately is handed to ever larger corporations and at this time most of Maryland’s utilities are controlled by global corporations. Even this wind farm was handed to a global corporation for operations. Heather Mizeur supports all of these public private partnerships that make these operations not only about profit, but end up soaking the public for money through ever rising rates…Maryland was ground zero for the subprime loan fraud—-MERS operated in Mizeur’s Washington suburbs. Wall Street still owes Maryland hundreds of billions of dollars at least—-and I do not hear a word from Heather….she doubles-down with Wall Street. A progressive would have created a state public bank and kicked these big banks out of Maryland…So, when Mizeur outlines the funding and support she sends to the underserved, women, and children….she never speaks of the dismantling of public justice and massive fraud and corruption taking all this funding…We know all of the appointments to Federal health programs and to Senate Committees by Harry Reid were all pols ready to privatize and defund public health. This is what Heather Mizeur works towards as well.”
Barry Rascovar, writing for Maryland Reporter:
“Brown came across best on the 90-minute WOLB-AM radio confrontation, heard mainly by an early-morning, African-American audience in both the Baltimore and Washington areas…Brown clearly isn’t comfortable under harsh TV lights. He’s more at ease before a radio microphone. In both the third TV debate and the lone radio debate, Brown harped on achievements of the past eight years and the need to continue progressive reforms. He repeated time and time again, “more work to do” and “we can do better”…While Gansler may be winning the ad war and gaining in later debates, he’s got an uphill road ahead of him. Among Democrats, the governor remains fairly popular, which rubs off on his lieutenant governor.”
In a conversation on Maryland Reporter, Len Lazarick said that during the debate:
“Brown said the estate tax cut passed this session, and signed by the governor, “would never have made it to my desk.” Instead he would have favored comprehensive tax reform. Did he actually disagree with Gov. Martin O’Malley on something?”
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Brown’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
“In pledging to convene a tax reform commission, Brown envisions “no new taxes” but does not support “giveaway” corporate income tax breaks. He proposes to generate jobs through state infrastructure projects including light rail in Baltimore and the D.C. regions and improvements to the port and airport. Other proposals include a focus on STEM education, creating a center to connect employers to skilled workers, investing in “apprentice academies,” and creating new funding initiatives such as an infrastructure bank and small business loan funds.”
Donald Fry (again) speaking about the business-friendly nature of the O’Malley administration which Brown would carry on with him:
“The recently announced willingness on the part of Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration and state legislative leaders to consider a gas tax increase to create jobs while addressing the massive backlog of unfunded transportation projects raises hope in the business community that, finally, our elected leaders may address Maryland’s escalating crisis in funding transportation infrastructure. Most business leaders understand that mobility and a superior, reliably-funded transportation infrastructure is a core pillar for a competitive business climate…At an October 18 joint hearing in Annapolis of three House of Delegates committees, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown signaled strong administration support for increasing capital spending on transportation as a way to put people back to work and to begin moving long-dormant highway, transit, port and airport projects into the construction phase.”
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposed the minimum wage increase O’Malley put in place, which Brown has still supported:
“Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown joined advocates of a minimum wage increase at a rally in Annapolis earlier this week. The Governor said he would introduce a bill this session that would increase Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour in three steps by 2016, with future raises indexed to inflation. The Maryland Chamber will oppose the legislation. Imposing additional costs on Maryland’s employers by increasing the minimum wage would have a negative impact on state’s business climate and economic competitiveness. Maryland’s job creators should be allowed to create wage and benefit programs that balance the needs of their employees with the economic stresses their companies face. Imposing additional labor costs on businesses could force impacted business owners to make difficult divisions like raising prices, eliminating positions or trimming benefits…There is no question that the job-creating capital spending on Maryland’s infrastructure proposed by the O’Malley administration is appropriately focused.”
GBC businesses launched an initiative to ‘promote health’ with Anthony Brown in 2010:
Fifteen Maryland businesses May 19 signed a letter of intent to participate in the state’s new Healthiest Maryland initiative. GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry and GBC-member businesses joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in launching the new initiative aimed at enlisting employers and their employees in an organized workplace effort to promote healthy lifestyles. Immediately prior to a morning press conference, Brown led business leaders on a “health walk” from the Center Club to the Inner Harbor, promoting one of several activities businesses can encourage to improve employees’ health.
From my still controversial article about the ‘light rail lobby’ which talked about Anthony Brown supporting the light rail…which certain segments of the business community favored:
The first of these are Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who both spoke at a meeting of the Purple Rail Alliance support it…The position of the city’s elite, political and economic came together when Maryland’s Department of Transportation and the MTA in early June hosted an industry forum for the Baltimore Red Line, which was attended by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Rawlings-Blake and a number of the business interests. Other officials also endorse the light rail expansion plan.
Editorial board of the Washington Post:
“Still, Mr. Brown strikes us as the best candidate and the one most likely to improve what Democratic leaders concede is the state’s anemic track record in attracting and retaining jobs and employers. Unlike Mr. Gansler, Mr. Brown has not scattered spending promises (often without plausible funding sources) like grass seed. Unlike Ms. Mizeur, he will not inspire panic attacks in the business community. No doubt, Mr. Brown, who is Gov. Martin O’Malley’s anointed successor, is a mainstay of the Democratic establishment and a paragon of the status quo…The focus of Mr. Brown’s campaign, at least rhetorically, has been to foster a business climate more conducive to employment growth. He proposes a cautiously staged expansion of pre-kindergarten education and a renewed emphasis on vocational schooling. If he has not offered voters a soaring vision, he has also not over-promised. That’s the right approach after the drumbeat of tax increases — some unavoidable — in the O’Malley years, which has left Maryland struggling to compete with Virginia for jobs.”
He may even support the Tech Council as well.
Barry Rascovar, writing for Maryland Reporter:
“Gansler is separating himself as the lone critic of the O’Malley-Brown years: 40 new or expanded taxes, a machine-like party establishment of special interests seeking Brown’s coronation and the need for change in Annapolis. He won the third debate. He was much more fluent, more relaxed and less hesitant. He made contact directly with his studio audience. His theme: jobs, jobs, jobs…So far the best commercials belong to Gansler. His silent ad (no words, just music) slamming Brown for his debate no-show was unusual and effective in getting viewer attention. His ad in which he casually reads from critical Brown editorial comments in the Washington Post about Brown’s failings in the health exchange disaster is another winner…Gansler is bucking nearly the entire Democratic Party establishment at a time when the call for change is coming mainly from Republicans.”
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Gansler’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
“Gansler’s plan pledges to “hold the line on tax increases” but close tax “loopholes” for large companies and to implement spending reforms designed to save an estimated $1.5 billion. He proposes to gradually reduce Maryland’s 8.25 corporate income tax rate to 6 percent, equaling Virginia’s rate. Other proposals include job-creation tax incentives for small businesses, discounted college tuition for degree programs in high-demand occupations, establishing a “robust” technical apprenticeship program and accelerating Maryland’s schedule for increasing the minimum wage.”
Editorial board of the Washington Post:
“Mr. Gansler has proposed a major cut in the corporate income tax, without a convincing plan to recoup those lost revenues or make corresponding spending cuts.”
A nice quote from Gansler which makes one think the business community would at least somewhat support him:
“There’s not a Marylander I come across that doesn’t talk about the tax structure and how we’re not competitive with other states.”
According to technical.ly, a site which seems to often side with the technology sector, they have this to say about Gansler:
Gansler said a “Buy Maryland First” policy is needed, as well as tax incentives for companies willing to manufacture in Maryland for at least five years. What do those incentives look like? Two to three years tax-free to the company doing aforementioned manufacturing. He said the corporate income tax rate in Maryland needs to be reduced from 8.25 percent to 6 percent, as it is in Virginia, in order to attract companies. Gansler offered a piece of rhetoric related to Baltimore city when he said, “Bringing people back there is going to be important.”
Maryland Reporter described Gansler advocating as a ‘pro-business Democrat’:
Attorney General Douglas Gansler declared Maryland a one-party state at a forum on manufacturing for candidates for governor. “We are a one-party state, and so the Democrat is going to end up winning the deal [the election] at the end,” Gansler said, seemingly dismissing Republican and independent voters. “We have a choice of a pro-business Democrat or a continuation of what we have now.”…Gansler proposed having a “Buy Maryland” program, creating a governor’s business council, creating industrial business zones land zoned for manufacturing, subsidizing manufacturing workforce training, manufacturing tax credits and creating a small business manufacturing initiative pilot program…“The anti-business climate in Maryland has to start at the top if we’re going to change it, “Gansler said.”One of the candidates isn’t here today because of that attitude.”
THE REPUBLICANS [TOP CONTENDERS]
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Craig’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
Craig vows to eliminate the income tax over five years and to eliminate the estate tax and the rain tax. He proposes to ultimately reduce the corporate income tax to 4 percent. He also vows “make actual cuts” to the state budget and to reduce the state education department’s administrative budget, pass savings on to local schools, end Common Core, and make tuition at state higher education institutions more affordable.
According to technical.ly, a site which seems to often side with the technology sectors, they summarize Craig’s positions:
Craig said he would eliminate the sales tax on products made and used by businesses in Maryland. He said the corporate income tax rate in Maryland needs to be reduced from 8.25 percent to 4 percent, lower than it is in Virginia, in order to attract companies. To lure younger people between the ages of 18 and 24 to attend college in the state, and then remain here after graduation, Craig thinks raising the minimum wage should be off the table. Instead, he said, the income tax should be lower for people at lower income levels.
Ron George [an ALEC member]
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described George’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
Besides a 10 percent income tax cut, George proposes to reduce the state’s corporate income tax rate to 5.75 percent by 2017, repeal the rain tax and the gas tax increase and to audit state agencies, eliminating redundant services. He also proposes a lock-box for transportation funding, attracting manufacturing firms to the Baltimore region and luring small manufacturing firms to Maryland’s rural areas.
According to technical.ly, a site which seems to often side with the technology sectors, they summarize George’s positions:
George said he wants to find ways to bring manufacturing firms back to Baltimore in an effort to rebuild the city’s tax base. Specifics were minimal, but he said the Port of Baltimore and the city’s harbor would be key to his plan. The owner of Ron George Jewelers, George noted that he starts people at his stores in Annapolis and Severna Park at $11 an hour, but said businesses — not Maryland government — should set the minimum wage. As for Maryland’s corporate income tax rate of 8.25 percent, George said he wants to lower it to 6.25 percent in 2015, and then reduce it by a quarter-percent the next two years until it hits 5.75 percent.
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Hogan’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
Hogan supports reducing personal income taxes at all levels, eliminating the rain tax and ensuring that the state’s corporate income tax is “regionally competitive.” He vows to make decisions based on restoring Maryland’s economy through job creation and making it easier for families and job creators to stay in Maryland and for businesses to locate here. He also pledges a more transparent state government.
The Washington Post on Larry Hogan:
“It’s reasonable to question the proposition that Maryland’s economy is utterly supine, while still hoping for a genuine contest of ideas in this fall. The Republican most likely to offer voters a plausible alternative is Larry Hogan, a businessman who served as appointments secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich, the state’s only GOP chief executive in the past 45 years…Unlike Harford County Executive David R. Craig, who would start by declaring war on the state income tax, or Charles County businessman Charles Lollar, who would lead state government by attempting to eviscerate it, Mr. Hogan has a more modest agenda and a more realistic one…He would seek spending cuts — ill-defined so far — by scouring agencies for what he calls small-ticket inefficiencies already identified in scores of audits…The Democrats’ overwhelming dominance of state politics in Maryland does not serve voters’ interests. It invites bloat, complacency and corruption. By positioning himself to the left of the GOP’s bomb-throwers, Mr. Hogan offers the best hope for a real race in November.”
Donald Fry, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee described Lollar’s visible policy positions in The Daily Record as follows:
Lollar vows to immediately reduce the corporate income tax rate to 5 percent and to phase out the state’s individual income tax in five years. He proposes to audit specialty taxes on businesses and to “eliminate as many as possible.” He vows to eliminate the rain tax and create a regulatory climate that allows companies to grow “without hurting the state’s natural resources.”
According to technical.ly, a site which seems to often side with the technology sectors, they summarize Lollar’s positions:
Republican, general manager for Cintas Corporation in Maryland and an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps Reserves with the rank of major. Lollar said his tax reform plan would tie the growth and the size of state government to Marylanders’ income growth and the cost of living via the Consumer Price Index. He said his plan also calls for getting rid of the state’s personal income tax. He’s a fan of tax credits and incentives for keeping businesses in Maryland. At one point he credited the Enterprise Zones in Baltimore city “as long as [businesses] are hiring those from Baltimore.” As for Maryland’s corporate income tax rate of 8.25 percent, Lollar said he wants to lower it to 5.25 percent.
I could go on and on, but I really don’t want to. This is all for now.
 While the original article did not show he was getting money from Bank of America but rather something called American Bank (likely this), what he says is right. I looked it up in the campaign finance database of the Maryland State Board of Elections & here’s what I found: Gansler has received $3,500 from the Bank of America PAC but not in the one used for his campaign (sneaky sneaky):
 As I’ve written in the past, Maryland Reporter “has donors including the pro-business groups Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Baltimore Committee.”
 Even “the primer newspapers in Maryland, the Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun declared in an editorial on May 9th that one of Baltimore City’s premier business groups, the Greater Baltimore Committee should “rally behind a proposal to adopt…calculating corporate income for tax purposes in exchange for a cut in the corporate tax rate,”” as I wrote in the past.
Also see this article with a pic of Mizeur and O’Malley standing together [Oh no] or this article when Mizeur ““rejected the notion that Maryland is unfriendly to business,” citing the second lowest corporate tax rate in the region.” The Washington Post also reported her saying there “should be discussion about improving the business climate in Maryland.” Also see this article on Maryland Juice. Then there’s this survey that Gansler filled out, showing he is pro-business.