Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at Maryland and its business climate — his latest effort to lure out-of-state companies to Texas.
In a radio advertisement, Perry slams Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who is considering a presidential bid in 2016, for turning Maryland into a “tax and fee state” with “some of the highest taxes in America.”
“When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas,” Perry says in the minute-long spot, according to WTOP, a local radio station that serves the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas.
In a statement released by O’Malley’s office, the Maryland governor touted the state’s achievements under his leadership, including a 2012 U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranking as the top state for innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Instead of engaging in PR stunts, Gov. Perry should come to Maryland to see firsthand the better choices that have led to these better results,” O’Malley’s office said in the statement.
Once again, I will observe that for all the attention Perry gets for these silly and expensive PR stunts, I’ve yet to see a single news story about a single job that has been relocated to Texas as a result. It would be nice if the mainstream media noticed that if the goal was to entice businesses to move to Texas, the effort has been a complete and unqualified flop, so far at least. If his mission was to convince other states to be more like Texas in terms of tax philosophy, that too has failed. Of course, if the goal was to force everyone to pay attention to Rick Perry, then I will concede that he has accomplished his mission. But beyond that, who cares?
One more thing: The Baltimore Sun, in addition to providing some delightful snark, mentions a few inconvenient facts that Perry will never mention:
We don’t want to alarm those secessionists out in Western Maryland who may find themselves drawn to a state whose governor thinks along the same lines, but you might have to take a bit of a pay cut in Texas. Like about 29 percent.
The Perry economic miracle, it seems, has been swell if you fancy working for low wages or if you’re not so keen on things like health benefits. (Texas: No. 1 in the rate of the uninsured! Obamacare? No, thank you!) If, however, you’re interested in actually making enough money to support your family, or avoiding bankruptcy if you get sick, you might consider looking a little closer to home.
Ah, you might ask, what good is having the nation’s highest median household income if you’re saddled with all those pesky taxes? Quite a lot, actually. According to the Tax Foundation — not what anyone would mistake for a liberal organization — Maryland’s state and local tax burden is 12th highest in the nation, and Texas’ is 45th. So, factoring in Maryland’s rate of 10.2 percent versus Texas’ 7.9 percent, a typical family could stay here and pull down $63,000 after state and local taxes, or move to Texas and make a bit over $45,000. The cost of living is higher here, according to Census Bureau estimates, but the comparison still works out in our favor.
And what do you get for the money? The best public schools in the nation, for starters. And that’s not just the product of some formula Education Week came up with, it’s also validated by scores on Advanced Placement tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It’s a little cheaper to go to college here, too, according to the College Board, and the trends don’t look good for Mr. Perry. In-state tuition has gone up 18 percent there in the last five years. Here? Two percent. You’re almost twice as likely to run into someone with a post-graduate degree in Maryland as you are in Texas.
As someone once said, “Oops!”