Maryland Trails Virginia in Bringing Home Jobs

Article excerpt

Maryland generated fewer jobs and attracted fewer businesses than Virginia - and most other neighboring states - between 1990 and 1995, according to a report released last week by the Maryland Business Research Partnership at the University of Baltimore.

The report, based on federal labor and census data as well as surveys of 1,000 Maryland companies, concluded that Maryland gained fewer than 10,000 new jobs in the five-year period, while Virginia, which has more than 1 million more residents, added nearly 172,000 jobs.

The report also found that from 1993 to 1995, 518 companies relocated to or expanded in Virginia, nearly four times the number of companies that chose to relocate to or expand in Maryland.

Explanations for Virginia's dominance range from its less restrictive permitting process to its lower income tax rate to the fact that Virginia is a right-to-work state and Maryland is not.

Though Maryland ranks among the top states in the nation in the quality of its infrastructure, the education of its work force and its overall quality of life, it probably won't shed its tag of being unfriendly to business until the tax and regulatory issues are addressed, business leaders say.

"The obstacles to growth are so clearly defined that they simply outweigh the state's tremendous assets," said Champe C. McCulloch, the president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. "We can and must do more to make our business environment more attractive."

Maryland business owners echoed those sentiments. Asked in the survey what is the biggest disadvantage to doing business in Maryland, 217 of 630 respondents said taxes, 77 said regulations, and 98 said the business environment.

Mindful of the business community's concerns, the Maryland General Assembly is considering legislation that would lower the state's income tax rate and speed up the permitting process. …